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The College of Engineering’s second Distinguished Lecture Series event of the fall takes place at 4:00 p.m. Monday, October 5, as the college welcomes James McLurkin for his presentation, “The Future of Robotics is Swarms: Why a Thousand Robots Are Better Than One.”

McLurkin, an adjunct professor at Rice University, is an expert in robotics and developing algorithms that run their programming, having won the 2003 Lemelson Foundation-MIT prize for invention, been named by Time magazine as one of five leading robotics engineers, and by Black Enterprise magazine as a “Best and Brightest Under 40.”

He describes his goal as being able to address questions surrounding the design of such systems, adding that unique computations will be required to improve robotic communication and mobility.

“Additionally, multi-robot systems require specialized hardware, such as a sensor to measure the geometry of their network,” McLurkin says on his research website.

McLurkin holds that the future of robotics will involve gathering large groups of robots that “can solve many practical applications faster, cheaper and in fundamentally different ways than individual robots.”

He notes that his approach mimics what is seen in nature, such as with colonies of bees or ants working together toward common goals.

His presentation will take place at 4:00 p.m. in Room 622 of the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, 1520 Middle Drive. Like others in the series, will be simulcast online.

Those viewing the live webcast will be able to pose questions to the McLurkin at the end of his discussion, while those who are interested in the presentation but aren’t able to attend can watch it later on the college’s YouTube page.

View the presentation online Monday.



David Goddard (865-974-0683,