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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Robotics drives Qualcomm's European Innovation Fellowship Programme

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Qualcomm Technologies has announced the winners of its Europe Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QInF) that focuses on recognising, rewarding, and mentoring the most innovative engineering PhD students across Europe and the United States.

Elias Mueggler from ETH Zurich and University of Zurich, Tim de Bruin from TU Delft and Jason Lee from ETH Zurich have been selected as the winning students for their proposals, all around robotics. Each winning student will receive $40,000 as part of the fellowship along with mentoring by a Qualcomm researcher.

“This year’s proposals focused on hot topic areas of research including, computer vision, machine learning, and autonomous navigation,” said Peter Rauber, Senior Director of Engineering at Qualcomm International. “Qualcomm’s culture is about invention, and collaboration to encourage the advancement of new technologies that can make a tremendous impact on the future of mobile. QInF helps us support external innovation by working with top PhD students from elite universities across Europe to mentor them and help propel their ideas forward:”

  • Elias Mueggler's proposal “Event-based Vision for High-Speed Robotics” focuses on investigating how to use event-based cameras in autonomously moving robots such as drones. The work will be an important first step towards bringing microsecond-resolution image processing to fast moving mobile robots. Elias will work on creating a generic six-degrees-of-freedom SLAM system with event based cameras which will advance the state of the art.
  • Tim de Bruin's proposal “Unsupervised Multimodal State-representation Learning for Robotics" which combines reinforcement- and deep learning to make robots learn a uniform representation of their state and their environment to learn new tasks autonomously. Tim will investigate learning control policies in high dimensional state spaces which still adhere to physical rules. This project will look to improve autonomous learning for robots.
  • Jason Lee proposes “A Unified Neural Language Model for Morphology, Grammar and Coherence” to bring together the benefits of character-level and sentence-level language models. Jason will model morphology, grammar and coherence jointly with a single neural network-based model. The model will incorporate past sentences and words to predict the next word. Having no pre-defined linguistic rules to start from, the project will improve language-agnostic natural language processing.
The QInF Europe program continues to expand its reach with the addition of two new universities: for the first time this year, the Technical University Delft (Netherlands) and KU Leuven (Belgium) were invited to participate in the program, bringing the total number of participating universities to six.

“This was the first year that we consolidated the Europe program and brought all of the region finalists together to present their proposals to a panel of technology topic expert judges who determined the winning proposals. It was great to have the different European universities together to meet and discuss their research,” said Charles Bergan, Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The high caliber of innovative proposals we received again this year for QInF Europe made the selection process quite difficult. In the end, we chose Elias, Jason, and Tim for their innovative work. We congratulate them and look forward to collaborating closely to bring their ideas to life.”

Charles participated for a fifth time in this year’s QInF Europe judging panel, along with the head of Qualcomm’s European research offices, Peter Rauber, and several Qualcomm Europe researchers. The QInF Europe finalist event was hosted by QUVA, the joint research lab, announced by Qualcomm Technologies. Inc. and the University of Amsterdam, focused on advancing state-of-the-art machine learning techniques for computer vision. Prof. Arnold Smeulders, one of the three QUVA directors, provided an interesting keynote speech on the open challenges in tracking.”

For more information about QInF, please visit www.qualcomm.com/research/university-relations/innovation-fellowship

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