W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

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W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by saharss2533 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:08 pm

Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Francesco Bullo is a Professor with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received the Laurea degree "summa cum laude" in Electrical Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology in 1999. From 1998 to 2004, he was an Assistant Professor with the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

His main research interests are network systems and distributed control with application to robotic coordination, power grids and social networks. He is the coauthor, with Andrew D. Lewis, of the book "Geometric Control of Mechanical Systems" (Springer, 2004, 0-387-22195-6) and, with Jorge Cortés and Sonia Martínez, of the book "Distributed Control of Robotic Networks" (Princeton, 2009, 978-0-691-14195-4). He is an IEEE Fellow. His students' papers were finalists for the Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (2002, 2005, 2007), and the American Control Conference (2005, 2006, 2010). His articles received the 2008 IEEE CSM Outstanding Paper Award, the 2010 Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, and the 2013 SIAG/CST Best Paper Prize. He has published more than 250 papers in international journals, books, and refereed conferences. He has served on the Editorial Boards of "IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control," "ESAIM: Control, Optimization, and the Calculus of Variations," "SIAM Journal of Control and Optimization," and "Mathematics of Control, Signals, and Systems".

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Re: W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by akshay » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:44 am

It was interesting to see that not everyone in the lab worked towards a higher research goal. Each had their own unique problem that, at it's core, had applied mathematics and control theory. As Francesco described it, 'organized chaos'.

It was mentioned several times that they need to gather domain specific knowledge in addition to having a deep understanding of applied math and control dynamics. This, to me, is a very important point. If you were to apply or transpose the insights of one field into the other, you need to have a very deep understanding of both fields; at least, in order to do something significant with this intermix.

What was also interesting was something that John mentioned about doing research in the midst of two fields. He said that as you read papers you pick up nuggets of information that eventually, in a serendipitous moment, it would all meld together into a research idea. This kind of reminds how many musicians describe priming their minds with a plethora of different music, that when it comes to the moment of composition, it melds together into a unique idea. To put it more plainly, that musician's music is just a congregation of their influences.

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Re: W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by kurt » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:29 pm

There was a lot going on in this lab which I admired. The work being done is neatly interdisciplinary and, especially in the case of John's research, has the potential for broad impact. One thing John said which I liked was this concept of "intuition from simulation." He described the process of studying some unknown field that has promising application to your own research, running relevant simulations which he found, and then constructing a model from these ideas. The simulation is an experience through which he becomes more conscious of the underlying mathematical relationships. It is through the iterative exploitation of the simulation where understanding occurs. While simulation as a pedagogical tool is not inherently new, I'm interested in this approach of actively seeking out simulations as an experiential medium.

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Re: W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by intae » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:05 am

I like the Prof. Bullo's mention that most of his and his students' researches start someone's problems. Even thought, basic principle of the study is digging one spot then be a master, current research environment doesn't allow to stick on one place.
In mechanical engineering area, someone says there is no more advancement after all. Most of engineering technology have been fully developed. Thus, people in the area are looking for collaboration which closely related to their interests.

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Re: W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by rluo » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:44 am

It’s very interesting for me personally that Prof. Francesco’s Lab talks a lot about data visualization. More interestingly, his lab takes data visualization one step further comparing with some other scientific labs that many of the data viz projects in the lab were only about pie chart or column chart but had more artistic conscious. A very good example was the animation being showed by John’s presentation. Actually, this is what I intend to do in my Ph.D. to study how to transform data into knowledge in a more efficient way. I think people are getting tied of seeing pie or column charts even they are called data visualization. The next generation of data visualization is still waiting for us to explore.

Here are some immature thoughts of data visualization:

Technology: Currently, Processing is the prior tool for data visualization. Even though it's way more easier than other languages, it still sets some obstacles for artists. So what if we create a visual programming platform for data visualization, like Cycling 74 Max?

Art: When people view a project of data visualization, the first word coming out is always 'cool'. However, is the 'coolness' should be the only standard to appreciate a project of data visualization? As a form of arts, what are the standards to criticize a project of data visualization?

Culture: Cultural differences may result people to interpret the same piece of data visualization in different ways, so is it necessary to consider cross-cultural aspects while design data visualization? And is it worthwhile to investigate global acceptable interface in data visualization?

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Re: W05V - Prof. Francesco Bullo Group

Post by fabian » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:58 am

I would like to ask the "political" question about the degree of truth to Prof. Bullo's very charming declaration that, in the general framework of the disciplines involved, everybody in the lab is free to follow whatever research he or she finds interesting. I am absolutely sure that Prof. Bullo himself knows that this is not the reality of his or any lab but still I am interested in the reasons for such a declaration. Taking it very seriously for a moment, would this kind of democratic lab structure really have a place in a research university system that is focused so much on giving money to the "right" endeavours, on funding the few projects that are deemed to be on the path to the future? To make one thing perfectly clear, I neither want to advocate such an approach nor am I being naive about the very high degree of objectively quantifiable properties that such decisions are based on, rather I would like to propose this as a thought experiment about a science lab that works like an art studio, where there is no influence on the directions a work might take from the outside world. Would this further or hinder the creativity of scientific work? Is it even possible, considering that scientific work can never start from zero but has to always begin at the most current state of things?

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