Home Blog Archives RSS
July 20, 2008

¶ drifting orcas
This summer I'm visiting Dieter Fox's lab at the University of Washington. I mainly wanted to be in Seattle so that I could be closer to Stacy, and it turned out to be a great opportunity to both get Dieter's input on my thesis and to collaborate with one of his students on a project that we're both interested in. So far it's been great, and I consider myself lucky that there's a great school here with a top-notch robotics lab. On the weekends, Stacy and I have been trying to take advantage of the nice weather and do some fun things here.

Last week, we went up to the Evergreen Speedway and watched a drifting competition. It was mostly amateur car fanatics and ricers, but definitely a lot of fun to watch.

Today, we took a day trip up to San Juan Island on the Canadian border. We'd heard that it's a great place to go on a whale watching boat tour, but were hesitant to pay the almost $70/person fee to sit on a boat for 4 hours, so we ended up just exploring the island by car and foot (we brought Stacy's car to the island on the ferry). It turned out to be a beautiful place, and really reminded me of Block Island. We eventually ended up at this place called Whale Watch Park overlooking the water, and were expecting to find a nice looking place rather devoid of sea life. Instead, our jaws basically dropped to the ground when we saw a pod of orcas swimming past about thirty seconds after we arrived. Absolutely majestic, and at some points they were fewer than 50 yards from where we were sitting on the rocks.

June 6, 2008

¶ Urban Challenge log files public
We've made our Urban Challenge race log files public, along with software for viewing the log files. Software requires a GNU/Linux system (we used Fedora Core 6 and Ubuntu 7.04). Running the viewing application with the log files basically shows our car's point of view for the entire race. If you followed the race and are curious about what happened to MIT at specific points (e.g. the collision with Cornell, or trouble on the dirt road) then this could be a fun thing to look at.


May 17, 2008

¶ Thesis Proposal
Over my many years as a professional student, I've found that it helps to set goals for each semester. Early on in this semester, I decided my goal would be to submit an official thesis proposal. That meant coming up with a coherent proposal, forming a committee, and getting a few signatures. Yesterday, I turned it in. Yay! And not a moment too soon, seeing as the semester is now pretty much over.

Ed turn in his doctoral thesis today, and Alex and I documented the process. We walked with Ed from our building to the EECS graduate office, Alex taking photos with Ed's camera, and me with a little camcorder. It was an odd little procession, with much fanfare from the three of us. The folks in the graduate office were highly amused. When you turn in your thesis, they give you a little receipt, which is pretty much the official notice that you have satisfied all of the departmental requirements to be granted a PhD. So many years, for such a small slip of paper!

On Sunday, most of our lab is heading off to the International Conference on Robotics and Automotion (ICRA). Yoshi and David will be presenting some aspects of our Urban Challenge work. I haven't been to ICRA before (or any pure robotics conference, really) so it should be fun!
February 21, 2008

¶ My book has been pirated?
On the one hand, I'm flattered. On the other hand, wtf?

October 28, 2007

¶ DGC NQE updates
CSAIL is keeping a blog/news site with updates from the Urban Challenge as it happens.


I probably won't update this blog much for the next few days (or until the race is over?) as I'm generally too exhausted after each day to do a whole lot other than collapse in bed. The good news, however, is that our initial runs are very promising, and people are starting to notice as as serious competitors =)
• Powered by bBlog