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2016 ACC STEM Workshop

Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 ACC STEM Workshop for Middle & High School Students & Teachers
Co-sponsored by the AACC and the IEEE CSS

The workshop was created to attract students and teachers to automation by demonstrating the importance, power, beauty, diversity, and excitement of control - a field that spans science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as art.

About fifty participants attended the workshop, from summer STEM programs at Boston University and Northeastern University.  Eight speakers delivered exciting talks on a wide range of topics in control and its applications that were educational, engaging, inspiring, and motivating for further learning about control.  The workshop activities included presentations by control systems experts from our technical community, informal discussions, and the opportunities for teachers and students to meet passionate professionals from academe and industry.

One student wrote, “It amazed me to see how creative and innovative the speakers were in using STEM.  Robots dancing?  Building DNA rods?  Analyzing bat movement?  It’s crazy to me how everything has the ability to be figured out or solved just using STEM.”

The workshop was organized by Bozenna Pasik-Duncan (University of Kansas), Linda Bushnell (University of Washington), and Sebastian Dormido, UNED, Madrid, Spain.  Speakers and topics included:

  • Bio-inspired Control Engineering – What Animals Teach, John Baillieul, Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University
  • The Miracle of Stabilization, Dennis Bernstein, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Control of Complex Networks, Andrew Clark, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Molecular Robots, Elisa Franco, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Riverside
  • Joys and Perils of Automation: Traffic Control in Smart Cities, Christos G. Cassandras, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Boston University
  • Networked Systems and Society, Munther Dahleh, Director of Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Autonomous Robots through Feedback Control and Machine Learning, Sebastian Trimpe, Research Scientist and Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Autonomous Motion Department, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Investigating Group Behavior in Dance, Kayham Ozcimder, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University, Princeton Neuroscience Institute

What was the most important thing you learned today?  Some student responses were:

- about robots and how they work
- control systems are in just about everything.
- about experiments I never thought possible.
- molecular robots
- how control mimics animals and humans
- how people can predict electricity use to not have a power outage.

A note from coordinators of the Artemis Program at Boston University reveals the impact of the workshop:  “Our girls loved it! In fact, when we returned back to campus we had many more girls volunteer to write conference review essays than we initially expected.  Again, we enjoyed the workshop so much and can't thank you enough for the unique opportunity.  Best.  Alexia, Claire, Erika, and Jennifer”