The award will support student attendance of the three-day single-track Fourteenth International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR), along with mentoring activities associated with the event. The conference will be held in Oulu, Finland, between June 15th and June 17th in 2020 at the Sokos Hotel Eden, two miles from the city center of Oulu and the supporting local institution the University of Oulu. The funds will be used to provide financial support to help approximately 15 U.S. students to attend the WAFR 2020, helping to ensure good representation of students from U.S. institutions at this leading research venue. Participation in the conference will boost motivation and excitement for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students as they continue their research journey into the foundational aspects of robotics.
The purpose of this grant for student travel to enable U.S. students, who otherwise might be unable to attend the WAFR conference, to present their work and forge connections with colleagues from around the world. In addition to paper presentations, the event will feature 3?5 keynote presentations by influential and internationally renowned roboticists. These presentations will provide succinct, first-hand information on historical perspectives, current state-of-the-art, and future trends of robotic planning, optimization and control, computational geometry and algorithms. With a long-established history, in the past WAFR has been among the best venues to focus on fundamental computer science topics and technical questions which underpin robotics, being known as the place where several foundational breakthroughs were presented in the past. In particular, themes covered by WAFR submissions and presentations previously have addressed fundamental algorithmic issues, such as complexity, completeness, machine learning, and probabilistic reasoning. Work has also been presented with applicability to manufacturing, legged locomotion, distributed robotics, human-robot interaction, surgical robots, and intelligent prosthetics, and even domains beyond the traditional scope of robotics, e.g., computational biology, computer animation, sensor networks. These match NSF's robotics priorities very closely.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.