Research Interests

My research interests lie in building intelligent robots for meaningful purposes - particularly, service / domestic / assistive robotics.

I am keenly interested in how knowledge can be conveyed to robots and how high-level knowledge and reasoning capabilities of robots are connected to the way robots view and understand the world - through sensors, vision systems, or haptics.

Past Research Projects:

FOON (Functional Object-Oriented Network)

I completed my dissertation on the development of a knowledge representation for service robots, particularly for household tasks. This representation is known as FOON, which stands for the functional object-oriented network. In a nutshell, we want to use this knowledge representation to program robots that can perform meaningful tasks and to solve manipulation problems.

We explored ways of automatically constructing this network as well as making it more "intelligent" to make it practical in real-world systems where everything is not guaranteed. We have investigated how we can use semantic similarity for filling in gaps of missing knowledge and to also learn new ideas and relationships from what we already know. In addition, we have been working at programming robots to use FOON. Because of the complexity of this task, we have tried to simplify this process through human-robot collaboration. We have demonstrated that a robot can rely on the human to perform actions that it cannot do on its own while also reducing the amount of work needed to be done by a human.

Motion Analysis & Taxonomy

As a component to FOON, we have also been interesting in understanding human motions as done in daily activities. My lab mate Yongqiang Huang has been in charge of data collection of humans performing several tasks (you can find more about this work here). From these demonstrations, we wish to learn how we can represent motions in a way that a robot can understand. To do so, we developed a motion taxonomy, with which we can translate the idea of motions to binary-encoded strings (called motion codes). With motion codes, we can describe key characteristics about the motions within subsets of bits. For instance, we can identify the number of degrees of freedom that is typically observed when performing manipulations of certain times, or we can describe whether contact that may (or may not) occur in action causes any change in state among the manipulated objects.

We hope that using motion codes as class labels for motion recognition tasks will result in significantly better performance of action recognition models.

Studies on the Effects of Doping Graphene

At the University of the Virgin Islands, I worked under Dr. Wayne Archibald, aiding in his investigation on the effects of doping graphene with extrinsic elements/compounds. My focus was in performing computations that would simulate the effects of doping, which we would then perform band structure calculations to identify the type of semi-conductor it has become. Doping graphene would create what is known as a band gap, making it suitable for use in devices as a semi-conductive component. I ran calculations using the Vienna Ab-Initio Simulation Package (VASP). Additionally, I have done other projects in computational chemistry with Dr. Archibald and Dr. Daniel Torres-Rangel using GPAW, which also became a publication, found here.

Dr. Archibald has since left UVI and is now pursuing a new venture in renewable energy for the Caribbean islands. Green Solutions International SKN is based in St. Kitts and their objective is to lead in the development of infrastructure for renewable energy. Please check out his page if you can!

Miscellaneous Class Projects

University of the Virgin Islands:

    • Studied the benefits of parallelizing the quick sort function by investigating the trade-offs in making the sort parallelized to work across varying processor core sizes with respect to the size of the data needed to be sorted.
        • This eventually became a paper done with Dr. Marc Boumedine which you may find in my publications.
    • Applied mathematical models and data mining techniques to practical problems such as modelling the effects of coral bleaching, the control of lion fish in the Caribbean waters, and observing the spread of dengue fever.
    • Developing a simple mobile application for Android as well as a scheduling program using SQL databases.