Breakout Groups

Visible to the public 

Breakout Sessions
Breakout sessions will be held on Thursday, March 11 from 3:15pm - 4:00pm EST.

Breakout Topics

1. Research in Agricultural Robotics
2. Research on Worker Safety and Robots
3. Assured Autonomy

4. Foundational Research in Robotics

1.  Research in Agricultural Robotics

Description: We will discuss progress on recent grants awarded within the agriculture space of NRI 2.0 and allow for exchange. We also invite those interested in the NRI-Ag. program to participate.

Moderator: Steven Thomson, National Program Leader, United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)


  • Xiaolin Hu, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Georgia State University
  • Girish Chowdhary, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Bing Ouyang, Assistant Research Professor, Florida Atlantic University
  • Shashank Priya, Associate Vice President for Research, Pennsylvania State University
  • Ajay Sharda, Associate Professor, Kansas State University

2.  Research on Worker Safety and Robots

Description: This breakout session will include a presentation on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) interests in research on worker safety and robots, highlights from intramural research, and opportunities for grantees and NIOSH to collaborate. The presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion with a panel that includes NIOSH program management and scientists.  We invite those conducting and interested in research on worker safety and robots to participate.

Moderator: Dawn Castillo, Manager, NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research (CORR) and Director, Division of Safety Research


  • Jacob Carr, Assistant Coordinator, CORR and Team Leader, Mining Systems Safety Branch
  • Marvin Cheng, Mechanical Engineer, NIOSH Division of Safety Research
  • Sharon Chiou, Scientific Program Official, NIOSH Office of Extramural Coordination and Special Projects
  • Frank Hearl, Chief of Staff

3. Assured Autonomy

Description: The panel will engage in an interactive discussion on the technical, economical and social opportunities and challenges due to autonomy. The discussion will build on the findings of a recent report on assured autonomy and its recommendations for changes in our approach to research, education and organization to ensure that autonomous systems create positive societal impact at scale.

Moderator: Ufuk Topcu, Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Oden Institute, The University of Texas at Austin



  • Missy Cummings, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University
  • Heather Roff, Senior Research Analyst, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab
  • Kymie Tan, Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
  • Moshe Vardi, University Professor, Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, Rice University

4.  Foundational Research in Robotics (FRR) Program

Description: This breakout session will highlight some of the recently awarded NSF projects supported by the new Foundational Research in Robotics (FRR) program. The session will include short presentations by the FRR PIs and general discussion about the FRR program. 

Moderator: Irina Dolinskaya (Program Director, National Science Foundation)


  • Anirudha Majumdar, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
  • Konstantinos Karydis, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California - Riverside
  • Kathryn Daltorio, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case School of Engineering
  • Tommaso Lenzi, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah
  • Ioannis Karamouzas, Assistant Professor, School of Computing, Clemson University
  • Joydeep Biswas, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin