Amato, computer science faculty chair 2016 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference

RSS 2016 FacultyDr. Nancy M. Amato, director of engineering honors and co-director of the computer science and engineering track of engineering honors at Texas A&M University, was selected program chair of the 2016 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference (RSS) held in June at the University of Michigan.

As program chair, Amato was responsible for the technical program of the conference as well as appointing the area chairs and the other members of the conference organizing committee. She administered the review process of the papers that are in the area of robotics.

Researchers from around the world working on algorithmic and mathematical foundations of robotics, robotics applications and analysis of robotic systems gather at RSS annually. The conference features invited talks, oral and poster presentations of refereed papers, and workshops.

“RSS 2016 was very successful,” said Amato, Regents Professor and Unocal Professor. “We accepted 47 papers from 228 submissions, which was the second largest number of submissions and the second lowest acceptance rate in RSS history. We also had a near record number of attendees at 640.”

Several former students and faculty members from computer science and engineering at Texas A&M were also involved with RSS 2016 in various capacities. Former student Dr. Jyh-Ming Lien and Associate Professor Dr. Dezhen Song served as area chairs. Lien, who was advised by Amato during his time at Texas A&M, is currently an associate professor at George Mason University.

Workshop co-chair Lydia Tapia, publications co-chair Sam Jacobs, short talk co-chair Marco Morales, and review process co-chairs Sam Rodriguez and Shawna Thomas each worked under Amato during their tenures as Ph.D. students in the computer science and engineering department at Texas A&M.

Tapia is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico and was recently awarded the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award; Jacobs is currently a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Morales is now an assistant professor at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM); Rodriguez and Thomas are currently postdoctoral students with Amato, however Rodriguez will be starting as an assistant professor at Texas Wesleyan University in August.

Associate Professor Dr. Dylan Shell’s paper titled, “Set-labelled filters and sensor transformations,” was accepted at RSS. The paper was co-authored by Fatemeh Zahra Saberifar, Shervin Ghasemlou, and Jason M. O'Kane. In addition, Shell served on a panel at RSS on "Surprises in Robotics in the next 3-5 Years," with three other high profile robotics researchers.

In April 2016, the area chair meeting was held on campus at Texas A&M to select the papers that would be presented at the upcoming conference. In conjunction with the area chair meeting, the department hosted a workshop during which the area chairs gave talks.

Along with her title as program chair, Amato is also co-director of the RSS Foundation Board.

RSS was started in 2005 by a group of robotics researchers who believed a high-quality, selective, single-track conference was needed. The conference is managed by the RSS Foundation, which is governed by the Foundation Board and the Advisory Board.