Varun Suryan Wins the UMD Three-Minute Thesis Competition for 2020

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Varun Suryan, a doctoral student advised by Assistant Professor Pratap Tokekar wins the University of Maryland’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition for 2020.

An undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, India, and Master in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech, Suryan’s research focuses on multi-arm bandits and their application to solving informative path planning problems in robotics.

“My main motivation in entering this competition was to challenge myself to break down my research in front of a general audience in less than three minutes,” said Suryan.

Suryan’s research interests are Reinforcement Learning, Informative Path Planning, and Bayesian Optimization.and  plans to extend his research to more real-world problems such as agriculture, climate-tracking, and mineral detection, etc. 

“A huge credit of my success goes to Dr. Tokekar,” said Suryan. Also, the Computer Science department at UMD couldn't be any nicer in terms of opportunities, freedom, and support I get here, he explained.

“Communicating your work to a broad audience is a critical skill, I am delighted that Varun decided to participate in this competition and won it”, said Professor Tokekar. His work on informative path planning will make robots more autonomous and ultimately more useful in environmentally important applications.



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