Computing Spaces for Work in Space

September 13, 2005

Holland-born robotic controls specialist Mark Moll will be responsible for simulation and software development on ISI's new SuperBot project

The SuperBot effort will build modular, multifunctional, reconfigurable robots for NASA space exploration, under contracts awarded at the end of 2004 to a team led by Wei-Min Shen, director of ISI's Polymorphic Robotics Laboratory.

"The success of the first year is critical for this new direction of space robotic program in NASA," said Shen in welcoming Moll, underlining the importance of the appointment. Shen, an ISI Project Leader, is also associate director of the USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, and an associate professsor in the USC Vterbi School of Engineering department of computer science.

Moll came to ISI from Rice University, where he was a post- doctoral researcher working at the Physical and Biological Computing Group on motion planning for flexible objects and molecular docking.

He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, awarded for thesis work focused on shape reconstruction of unknown shapes using tactile data. His M.S. degree in computer Science comes from the University of Twente in the Netherlands in 1995.

His research interests include motion planning, robotic manipulation, computational geometry, shape reconstruction, tactile sensing, parts orienting, computational biology, and self-reconfigurable robots.

"It's my great pleasure to welcome Mark to our Polymorphic Robotics Lab in the Intelligent System Division," said Shen.

Moll is glad to be here. He enjoys the outdoors and looks forward to hiking and climbing in the area. After having lived in Houston, his new hometown Santa Monica is a welcome change, he says: "I like that I can walk around the neighborhood and that I can bike to work."