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Scholarly Interest Report
         
James McLurkin
Professor in the Practice
Professor in the Practice of Computer Science
 
e-mail:jmclurkin@rice.edu
 
  • Ph.D. Computer Science (2008) MIT
  • S.B. Electrical Engineering (1995) MIT
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering (1999) UC Berkeley
  • S.M. Computer Science (2003) MIT
 
Primary Department
   Department of Computer Science
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Research Areas
 My research is on distributed algorithms for multi-robot systems, with a focus on both algorithm and systems design. Distributed algorithms use local interactions between nearby robots to produce large-scale group behaviors. My long-term goals are to understand computation on multi-robot systems in theory and in practice. I believe that these systems will require a unique theory of computation, because algorithm execution is inextricably linked to robot mobility and communications. Additionally, multi-robot systems require specialized hardware, such as a sensor to measure the geometry of their network. My research program is addressing these open questions.
 
Selected Publications
 Refereed articles
 

Alejandro Cornejo, Andrew J. Lynchy, Elizabeth Fudgey, Siegfried Bilsteiny, Majid Khabbazian,
James McLurkin. “Scale-Free Coordinates for Multi-Robot Systems with Bearing-only Sensors”. In
International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR Volume 32 Issue 12 October 2013 pp. 1459 - 1474)

 
 

Using Multi-Robot Systems for Engineering Education: Teaching and Outreach with Large Numbers of an Advanced, Low-Cost Robot. McLurkin J, Rykowski J, John M. Kaseman Q, Lynch A , IEEE Transactions on Education

 
 Refereed conference papers
 

Aaron Beckerz, Erik Demaine, S´andor Fekete, Golnaz Habibiy, and James McLurkin. “”Reconfiguring
Massive Particle Swarms with Limited, Global Control”, International Symposium on Algorithms and
Experiments for Sensor Systems, Wireless Networks and Distributed Robotics (ALGOSENSORS),
2013

 
 

Aaron Beckerzand James McLurkin “Exact Range and Bearing Control of Many Differential-Drive
Robots with Uniform Control Inputs”. In IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and
Systems (IROS), 2013

 
 

Aaron Beckerzand James McLurkin. “Massive Uniform Manipulation: Controlling Large Populations
of Simple Robots with a Common Input Signal”. In IEEE International Conference on Intelligent
Robots and Systems (IROS), 2013

 
 

Golnaz Habibiy, Lauren Schmidty, Mathew Jellinsyand James McLurkin. “K-redundant Trees for Safe
Multi-robot Recovery in Complex Environments”. In International Symposium on Robotics Research
(ISRR), 2013.

 
 

Mike Rubenstein, Adrian Cabrera. Justin Werfel. Golnaz Habibiy, James McLurkin, Radhika Nagpal.
“Collective Transport of Complex Objects by Simple Robots: Theory and Experiments”. In
Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS), 2013. (23% acceptance rate)

 
 

S´andor P. Fekete, Alexander Kr¨oller, SeoungKyou Leey, Christiane Schmidt, James McLurkin. “Triangulating
Unknown Environments using Robot Swarms”. In ACM Symposium on Computational
Geometry (SoCG), 2013

 
 

Sailish Prabhu Dagger; and James McLurkin. Hexagonal Lattice Formation in Multi‐Robot Systemsʺ. In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), 2012(extended abstract) (43% acceptance rate on extended abstracts)

 
 

Emma Campbell‡, Zhao Chad Kong‡, William Hered‡, Andrew J Lynch‡, Marcia K. O. Malley, and James McLurkin "Design of a Low‐Cost Series Elastic Actuator for Multi‐Robot Manipulation. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2011." 

 
 

In IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots
and Systems (IROS), Taipei, 2010.

 
 

In Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems (DARS), 2010.

 
 

International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, October 2009

 
 Other
 

 The r‐one: A Low‐Cost Robot for Research, Education, and Outreach”. In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011,
(Demonstration).

 
 Recordings
 

SeoungKyou Leey, Aaron Beckerz, S´andor P. Fekete, Alexander Kr¨oller, and James McLurkin. “Triangulating
Unknown Environments using Robot Swarms”. In Symposium on Computational Geometry
(SoCG), 2013, (Video).

 
Creative Works
 Other - Daily Planet
 PBS: Fetch, Discovery Channel Canada, (2010)
 
 Other - Game Changers
 Discovery Channel ʺGame Changers!ʺ (In production), (2012)
 
Presentations
 Conference Committee Member
 

Associate Editor

 
 

"Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems (DARS)." (2010)

 
 Invited Talks
 

National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference: “Extreme Lesson Plans, Honey
Bee Adventures, and Robots for Everyone: Putting Old-School Passion into Modern Technical
Education.”

 
 

Cornell University: “Distributed Robot Recovery, Angular Coordinate Systems, and Low-Cost
Robots”

 
 

West Point Military Academy: “Distributed Robot Recovery, Angular Coordinate Systems, and
Low-Cost Robots

 
 

NSF National Robotics Initiative Principal Investigators Meeting: “Robots for Everyone: Democratizing
the Robot Revolution with Public Outreach and Multi-Robot Systems”

 
 

University of Evansville: “The Future of Robotics is Swarms: Why a Thousand Robots are
better than one”

 
 

Arizona State University: “Biologically-Inspired Multi-Robot Systems: Lessons from Nature on:Storing Information, Reducing Complexity, and Large Populations"

 
 

Norfolk State University: Distributed Algorithm Activities for Teaching Undergraduate Courses

 
 

University of Pennsylvania: “Distributed Robot Recovery, Angular Coordinate Systems, and Low-Cost Robots, 2012

 
 

Braunschweig University: “Distributed Robot Recovery, Angular Coordinate Systems, and Low-Cost Robots

 
 

"Distributed Algorithms, Angular Coordinate Systems, and Low‐Cost
Robots." Texas A&M University, (2011)

 
 

"Distributed Algorithms, Angular Coordinate
Systems, and Low‐Cost Robotsʺ." University if Illinois at Urbana‐Champlain:, (2011)

 
 

"Gradient Communications in Robot Swarm: A
Natural Idea for Artificial Problems." St. Edwards College Lucian Symposium:, (2009)

 
 

"Measuring the Accuracy of Distributed Algorithms on Multi‐Robot Systems." UCSB, (2009)

 
 

"Measuring the Accuracy of Distributed Algorithms on Multi‐Robot Systems." Rutgers, (2008)

 
 Keynote Speaker
 

Bridgewater State University, Illinois State University, University of
Louisville (Speed School of Engineering) , Lindenwood University, DuPage County Teachers
Institute Day

 
 

Norfolk Technical College, South Lake Public Library, El Centro College,
Springfield Public Forum, Dallas County Community College

 
 

East Kentucky University, Weber State University, Microsoft Techready Conference, Hatboro
Educational Foundation, United Church of Christ Synod,

 
 

Bruce Museum, Norfolk Technical College, South Lake Public Library, El Centro College,
Springfield Public Forum, Dallas County Community College

 
 

University of Richmond, Newark Museum,
Starbase Directors Workshop, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Michigan Career Educators
Conference, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Indian River Community College

 
 

Sandia National Labs, John Griffen Middle School, Johnson C. Smith University, Penn State
Altoona, National Tech Prep Network, Presbyterian College, Starbase Robins Robotics
Academy, Lemelson‐MIT InvenTeams, IBM Technical Recognition Conference, Boys and Girls
Club of America, Boston Museum of Science “The Science of Star Wars” Exhibit

 
 

St. Mark’s School of Texas, Emeryville Secondary School, Lincoln‐
Sudbury Primary School

 
 

Boston Museum of Science, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis,
Starbase Robins Robotics Academy, Buffalo Museum of Science, Honda Research and
Development Center

 
 

"Association of Science‐Technology Centers Conference." (2003)

 
 Lectures
 

Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago, Santa Clara University, Kean University

 
 Other
 

TELEVISION 2012 Discovery Channel “Game Changers!”(In production) 2010 PBS: Fetch, Discovery Channel Canada: Daily Planet

 
 

"National Science Foundation, DARPA workshop for educational robotics."

 
 

“Robot Revolution”, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (In development)

 
 

"“Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius”, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago." (CONTRIBUTOR)

 
 

"“Invention at Play”, Smithsonian National Museum of American history (Traveling Exhibit)." (2003)

 
 Posters
 

"“Computing Scale‐Free Coordinates on Multi‐Robot Systems”. In Workshop on
the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR), 2010, (Poster Presentation).." (2010)

 
 Workshops
 

"AAAI 2011 Spring Symposium Series: Physical data structures in multi‐robot systems." (March 2011)

 
 

"The r‐one: A Low‐Cost Platform for Research, Teaching and
Outreachʺ." ARTSI Faculty Workshop:, University of Alabama. (2011)

 
 

" ICRA: Network Science and Systems Issues in Multi‐Robot Autonomy." (May 2010)

 
 

"“Experiment Design for Large Multi‐Robot Systems”. In Robotics Science and
Systems Workshop: Good Experimental Methodology in Robotics, 2009. (Workshop Paper)." (2009)

 
 

"RSS: Workshop on Algorithmic Equivalence Between Biological and Robotic Swarms." (Jan 2007)

 
Editorial Positions
 Other, IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS),. (2011 - 2011)

 Other, Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems (DARS). (2011 - 2011)

 Other, International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR). (2011 - 2011)

 Other, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). (2011 - 2011)

 Other, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR). (2011 - 2011)

 Other, Transactions on Robotics (T‐RO),. (2011 - 2011)

 Other, The International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC). (2011 - 2011)

Supervised Theses & Dissertations
 Joshua B. Rykowski, Master of Science Pose Estimation With Low-Resolution Bearing-Only Sensors. (2011) (Thesis Director)

 Ioan Alexandru Sucan, Doctor of Philosophy Task and Motion Planning for Mobile Manipulators. (2011) (Thesis Committee Member)

 Devin Kieber Grady, Master of Science Unsynchronized Distributed Motion Planning with Safety Guarantees under Second-Order Dynamics. (2011) (Thesis Committee Member)

 Andrew J Lynch, Master of Science Multi-robot Behaviors with Bearing-only Sensors and Scale-fee Coordinates. (2011) (Thesis Director)

 Devin Kieber Grady, PhD Motion Planning with Uncertain Information in Robotic Tasks. (2014) (Thesis Committee Member)

Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
 Winner, ProtoLabs ʺCool Ideaʺ Award. Finalist., The Phi Beta Kappa of Rice Teaching Prize. (2011)

 The Roy E. Campbell Faculty Development Award, The George R. Brown School of Engineering, Rice University. (2009)

 Named Among “100 History-Makers in the Making” by MSNBC’s Cosmic Log,

 Dominion Power, Strong Men & Women Excellence in Leadership Series, (2008)

 Time Magazine, Top Five Robotictsts, (2004)