March 9, 2021 Newsletter

march 9 2021

Take a look at our March 9, 2021, Newsletter with updates from the Ken Kennedy Institute.

Member of the Month, Dr. Vaibhab Unhelkar, is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science. By merging expertise from AI, robotics, and human factors engineering, Unhelkar has developed algorithms to enable fluent human-robot interaction and deployed collaborative robots among humans. In his on-going research, he is developing computational techniques to combine data and human expertise (i.e., for human-in-the-loop AI) and to improve transparency of intelligent machines.

What is your favorite book?
The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. While I read less fiction now than I used to, this fictional history of an interstellar future remains my favorite. I came across Foundation during a road trip ten years ago (incidentally, to the Indian Space Agency) and instantly fell in love with the book. Asimov, through engaging short stories, shows the profound impact that seemingly simple ideas can have on humans and society.

How do you explain your research in one sentence?
My research on Computational Human-AI Interaction enables robotics to better support humans and humans to become more informed users of AI-based technology.

Remembering Ilinca Stanciulescu

Ilinca, a native of Bucharest, Romania, joined Rice in 2009. During her tenure with the university, she taught Nonlinear Finite Element Method Analysis; Advanced Mechanics of Materials; and Elasticity, Plasticity and Damage Mechanics. She also conducted research on computational mechanics (nonlinear finite elements), constitutive modeling of materials, multiscale and multiphysics formulations, nonlinear dynamics and stability of complex systems.

Some of Ilinca’s long-standing work was with Jane Grande-Allen, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering. The duo designed bio-inspired materials to replace the tissues found in the body such as heart valves and blood vessels.

Ilinca is remembered by Jane and her colleagues and students as a passionate educator, researcher and mentor. Click here to read more.

Why Venture Capitalists are Investing in 'Software Beyond the Screen'

Date: March 10 at 4:00 PM CST

In this talk, Sunil Nagaraj of Ubiquity Ventures will explore how software is beginning to animate, understand and navigate the real world with profound implications. He will touch on how the software engineering toolchain has been perfected for computer software and how this software development paradigm is being applied conceptually and tactically. Register at

Students can click here to apply for a one-on-one meeting with Sunil on Wed, March 24 from 4-6 PM CST.

2021 Oil and Gas HPC Post-Conference Workshops

The 2021 OG-HPC Conference Workshops will be offered every Friday in March - March 12, 19, 26. Click here for the Zoom Webinar details.

  • Mar 12 - TXWHPC Round Table: Impacts and Opportunities Post 2020
  • Mar 12 - HPC in the Cloud Tutorial by AWS and NVIDIA
  • Mar 19 - Overview of Innovation at Rice University
  • Mar 26 - Best Practices in Supercomputing Systems Management

Data Science Coast to Coast Seminar: Dr. Lydia Kavraki and Dr. Angela Radulescu (NYU)

Date: Wed. March 17 at 2 PM CST
Topic: Robotics and Human-Computer Interaction

Dr. Lydia Kavraki, Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute and Professor of Computer Science, Rice University presenting Robotics in the Data Science Era and Dr. Angela Radulescu, Moore-Sloan Faculty Fellows, Center for Data Science, New York University presenting Towards Naturalistic Task Representation in Health and Disease
Click here for more details!

Ken Kennedy Institute Distinguished Speaker - Dr. Daniela Rus

Date: April 1 at 10:00 AM CST
Daniela Rus is the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, and Deputy Dean of Research in the Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT. More info coming soon!

Click here to register.

More Events

Rice Master of Data Science Degree Program

The Master of Data Science Program offers recent graduates and professionals a Rice degree that will enhance their current careers or help them pivot to new ones. The degree is offered through the George R. Brown School of Engineering and managed by the Department of Computer Science. The program is a professional, non-thesis degree designed to support interdisciplinary professionals. Taught by world-class faculty, the program offers online or on campus options. Applications are now open and classes begin this fall.

Share with Your Students: Michigan Data Science Fellows Program Open for Applications

The Michigan Data Science Fellows Program is now accepting applications for the 2021 cohort. This is a two-year postdoctoral program for young researchers who have a strong track record of research in their respective fields and who plan to acquire additional skills in data science, broadly construed, with a focus on either methodology or applications (including societal impact). Fellows will be expected to work at the boundaries between data science methods and domain sciences in an intellectually vibrant environment, and build interdisciplinary relationships with other Fellows and over 370 MIDAS affiliate faculty. More information about the positions and application process can be found online.

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The Rice Ken Kennedy Institute is located on the campus of Rice University inside Duncan Hall. Click the map below for directions.

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