I recently graduated the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a degree in Political Science and minor in Linguistics. In undergraduate, I took two CS classes that piqued my intrinsic curiosity in computers that I developed since childhood. Graduating in 2020 during the pandemic motivated me to question my purpose in life and pursue my dream to become an computer scientist. I wanted to challenge my intellectual capability in engineering and decided to go back to university for the Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-Specialists (iCAN) program.
I plan to complete my last semester of the iCAN program this Summer 2022, where I will conduct research on robotics and motion planning at the Parasol Laboratory located in the Thomas M. Siebel Center for CS. I will be funded by the DREAM program during my research experience. My advisor is Dr. Nancy M. Amato, the Head of the UIUC Department of CS and a truly inspiring woman. My interests are in applied-motion planning fields such as video games and graphic animation.
My Parasol Website: Parasol Laboratory - Ana Elissa Cabrera
My Github Repository: cabreraleon
About My Advisor
Nancy M. Amato is Head of the Computer Science Department and Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining Illinois in 2019, she was Unocal Professor and Regents Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and Senior Director of Engineering Honors Programs.
Amato received undergraduate degrees in Mathematical Sciences and Economics from Stanford, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois, respectively. Her research focuses on motion planning and robotics, computational biology and geometry, and parallel computing. She has graduated 24 PhD students, with most going to faculty positions (11) or research positions in government or industry (11). She is Vice President for Member Activities of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), was program chair for the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) and for Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) in 2016. She was co-Chair of CRA-WP (2014-2017) and of the NCWIT Academic Alliance (2009-2011), is Chair-Elect of the AAAS Section on Information, Computing, and Communication (T), is an elected Member and Vice Chair of the CRA Board of Directors and a member-at-large of the ACM Council.
Amato received the 2019 IEEE RAS Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation, the 2019 IROS Harashima Award for Innovative Technologies, the 2014 CRA Habermann Award, the inaugural NCWIT Harrold/Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award in 2014, the 2013 IEEE Hewlett-Packard/Harriet B. Rigas Award, and Texas A&M university-level awards in teaching (2011) and research (2018). She is a Fellow of the AAAI, AAAS, ACM, and IEEE.
About My Project
The Parasol Motion Planning Library (PMPL) is an open-source project that calls for the exploration of robotic interaction, task and motion planning, multi-robot systems, and other critical robotics discoveries. I expect to learn stellar practices for open source software development and how to refactor existing PPL code. Code refactoring will ensure the code is modular to avoid complex dependencies, well documented so that it is user-friendly to the public, and that it correctly abides by its pseudocode. I am expected to write test-cases for the PPL algorithms, expand the PPL, and develop visualization tools such as user manuals, tutorials, and websites for the public. I am also expected to attend weekly open source project meetings and Parasol Laboratory meetings. My goals are to gain knowledge in robotics and artificial intelligence, research motion planning algorithms such as Adaptive RRT, learn C++, help develop open-source software, improve my algorithm design skills, and contribute to the PMPL.