Rice University computer scientist Lydia Kavraki was recently named one of the ‘World’s 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics,’ according to Analytics Insight, an influential platform dedicated to insights, trends, and opinion from the world of data-driven technologies. The list recognizes “the best women leaders who hold extensive experience and influence in robotics and their innovations are redesigning the future of businesses worldwide as well.”
"I am honored and humbled by this recognition," Kavraki said. "It reflects work of many years done in collaboration with amazing undergraduate and graduate students at Rice University and colleagues all over the world."
Kavraki has published more than 240 peer-reviewed articles and is co-author of the textbook “Principles of Robot Motion,” published by MIT Press. For the last 20 years Kavraki has been working in enabling robots to work with people and in support of people. Her research develops the underlying methodologies for achieving this goal: algorithms for motion planning for high-dimensional systems with kinematic and dynamic constraints, integrated frameworks for reasoning under sensing and control uncertainty, novel methods for learning and for using experiences, and ways to instruct robots at a high level and collaborate with them. She is inspired by a variety of applications: from robots that will assist people in their home, to robots that would build space habitats.
This is not the first time Kavraki has been recognized in 2020. Earlier this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) feted her for her foundational contributions to the discipline with the ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award. She was honored with the Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for her fundamental contributions to robot design including “the invention of randomized motion planning algorithms and probabilistic roadmaps.”
Kavraki, currently Rice’s Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science, is also a professor of bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering, as well as the director of Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute. According to Google Scholar, Kavraki has published more than 200 journal articles, which have been cited more than 27,800 times. A highly cited 1996 paper (>3,500 times) was the first to establish a probabilistic approach to developing road maps for high-dimensional spaces, which has become one of the key techniques for motion planning for complex physical systems. She is the author of the textbook Principles of Robot Motion, published by MIT Press which is used in several classes worldwide. Kavraki’s research activities can be found on the Kavraki Lab’s website.