Plenary Talks

Raffaello D'Andrea - Simulation and Closing the Loop
In this talk I will discuss how simulation was used in the various machines and systems we've been involved with over the years, in research, business, and the arts.


Spanning academics, business and the arts, Raffaello D'Andrea's career is built on his ability to bridge theory and practice: He is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, where his research redefines what autonomous systems are capable of. He is founder of Verity Studios AG, which develops a new breed of interactive and autonomous flying machines. He is co-founder of Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012), a robotics and logistics company that develops and deploys intelligent automated warehouse systems; at Kiva, he led the systems architecture, robot design, robot navigation and coordination, and control algorithms efforts. He was the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four time world champions at the international RoboCup competition. In addition, he is a new media artist with exhibitions at various international venues, including the Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Canada, the FRAC Centre, the Smithsonian, and the Spoleto Festival. Other creations and projects include the Flying Machine Arena, the Robotic Chair, Flight Assembled Architecture, the Distributed Flight Array, the Balancing Cube, Cubli, actuated wingsuits, and RoboEarth.
Nate Koening - Robots in the Cloud: Simulating robots and environments for
real-time competitions

Simulation is used from academia through industry to design, implement,
and test robot models and controllers in various environments and
conditions. The growth of cloud computing and advances in simulation
technology has put realistic and accurate 3D simulation within reach of
most people who own a computer. As technology becomes cheaper and
easier, more people find interesting and novel use cases. One such use
case is simulation as a competition platform. The Virtual Robotics
Challenge (VRC), part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), is one such
competition. Following on the success of the VRC other organizations,
including FIRST and Robocup, have started to take a greater interest in
This talk presents the framework developed to run the VRC, and how
Gazebo was enhanced to support a world-wide competition run on
cloud-computing resources. Results from the VRC will be presented along
with other projects underway at the Open Source Robotics Foundation
(OSRF). The talk will finish with a discussion of the future direction
of simulation, and how the robotics community can collaborate with OSRF.

Nate Koenig is the Chief Technology Officer at Open Source Robotics
Foundation (OSRF). Prior to joining OSRF, Nate was a research engineer
at Willow Garage where he conducted human robot interaction (HRI)
studies and continued development of Gazebo, and open source robot
Nate started his academic career at the Rochester Institute of
Technology where he earned a B.S in computer science. A one year hiatus
to Xerox then lead him to the computer science master program at USC,
where he joined the Interaction Lab. During his master's studies, Nate
co-started the Gazebo simulator with Prof. Andrew Howard. The goal of
Gazebo is to simulate high-fidelity environments to aid in the
development of robotic algorithms and systems.
Upon completion of his M.S degree, Nate continued his education at USC
in the PhD program working with Prof. Maja Mataric'. Nate's PhD work
focused on Bayesian approaches to Learning from Demonstration (LfD) and
improved interfaces for human robot communication.

Mike Stilman

Mike Stilman, keynote speaker at SIMPAR 2014 and an emerging leader in humanoid robotics research, passed away following an apparent accident in Atlanta on May 6th. 
This is a shocking loss for all robotics community. 
The SIMPAR conference committees extend their deepest condolence to his family. We will sorely miss Mike.