Comps and Proposal Scheduled

This week I finally got a lot of stuff I have been working on for the past couple months to the next stage.  I finally got comps and dissertation proposal scheduled and my proposal approved by the chair of my committee to be handed out to the rest of my committee.  I am so very excited!

Alexandria and Resource Allocation for Food Banks

The day before Halloween Les and I went to Alexandria and we did some of the scavenger hunt.  It was a amazing warm weather and there were all of these dogs dressed in costumes.  It was really fun.  We ate at Red Rocks Pizza, which my brother recommended, but we found to be not that great.  However, because we were still hungry after the pizza we ran across this burger joint Burger Fi.  There fries are the best and the milkshakes are so so so thick and delicious and the burger of course was juicy and tasty.

I’m nearly done my dissertation proposal.  So, should get back to working on that…  But before I stop, I found a paper “Challenges in Resource and Cost Allocation” by Toby Walsh published in AAAI just this year.  He claims that food bank distribution of food to people is a challenge problem.  This is awesome!!  I would so very much love to be working on trying to come up with solutions to this problem.  I have experience working in food banks and know the trouble with fair distribution and expiring foods.  Well, ok, back to writing.

Update on life

Wow!  This week has been crazy busy.  Last weekend Les and I packed up my stuff from Hildey’s and she had her bridal shower in Hanover.  Then Monday we moved my little stuff into our first apartment and then Tuesday we moved the bigger stuff.  Stephen Kuhl helped with the move both days!  He was a great help.  Steve Aden was an enormous help, he helped move the big stuff with his truck.  He literally came straight from the airport to Hildey’s to help us!  By now Les and I have gotten just about everything of hers moved in except her dresser and one of her bigger book shelves.  Our places is looking nice!

The, yesterday Leslie’s sister, brother-in-law and niece arrived from Germany!  Was so great to finally meet them in person and have dinner with them.  Audrey is so so energetic.  She had only five ours of sleep and was still running all over the house and up and down the steps.  I wish I had that much energy.

This Saturday, if the weather holds up, my friends have put together a bachelor party and we are going in to DC for the Food Fest!

Today, we are planning on getting some of the books onto the shelves and out of the boxes and then run some errands.

I can’t wait until we are married!!  It is so close.  October 15th at 10am it begins and then by noon we should be back to our apartment and married 🙂  Then hopefully things will start to calm down again and I can get more work done.

I am hoping to propose and do my comps in early December so I have an enormous amount of work to do.  Leslie’s freelance stuff seems to have produced a number of leads and given more time after the wedding we hope some of them will pan out!  It is all so very exciting 🙂

Praise God I have a wonderful bride, a caring family and extended family, and great friends.

Smart Apartment Communities

I am getting a new apartment and am going to move-in in October!  This time it is a fancy one, not a basement of a house, but well it is still technically in a basement (subterranean as the apartment office calls it).  It is fancy in that it is part of an apartment complex.  The best part though is that I will be moving in there with my then to be wife, Leslie :).

So, last night Leslie was on her amazon because she was checking the shipping order for one of her friends wedding gift.  I was watching and she accidentally scrolled down too far and I saw what she got me for my Birthday!  She got me a Raspberry Pi 3!  So, it is a bit early for my birthday, but I don’t care.  I’m getting a raspberry pi!!!

This got me thinking of multiple ideas of what to do with it…  From making the whole kitchen into a smart kitchen.  Where we have smart outlets, automatic faucets, lights that turn on when you walk in or off when you leave, and automatic alarms that go off if the oven has been on for longer than you set it for, sound system controller, humidity regulator (since a basement probably will need a dehumidifier), temperature controller. dishwasher monitor, voice controlled kitchen timers…. I mean the list just goes on and on and on!

This got me thinking that apartment complexes would be the ideal candidate to start renovating for smart living spaces!  Essentially a smart community.  They could operate on there own smart/micro grid, have there own micro water plant (because why don’t we operate water and sewer like the micro-grid?  I mean that way the entire water system is not so easily polluted by a single source.  Also, that means a more exact amount of water is able to be cleaned etc.  idk but seems like a cool idea right?), also there would be solar panels installed on all the roofs (or at least those that make sense).  Then they could also renovate the apartments themselves.  Of course the more you pay the more the automation and the higher end the appliances etc are.  Of course you would want the smart house to be easily able to integrate the apartment resident’s devices and personal augmentation.  That way they could add more automation themselves if they desire.

So, that is a lot up front.  But, if the complexes start offering for a significant rent increase the basic smart house, they could start to increase there revenue and start to renovate the communities and start to make there company stand out.  Eventually they would have the dream of my last paragraph.  Of course if they are building a new community they might consider doing this from the start.

So, that was a fun idea I had.  I think that this would be a fun business to get into.  Contracting with apartment companies to renovate their apartment communities.


Wedding Prep and Research

Wow!  I’m quite busy.  Leslie and I’ve been putting together a wedding website (here, also she did it all.  All I did was suggest where and put in the map lol).  We have just finished our wedding registry and wow there is a lot you need for a kitchen.  Leslie has made wedding invitations and RSVP cards and cool art to go on them.  So cool!!! Well umm most of that has been what Leslie has been doing…

I’ve been helping some with that.  But I’ve been working on redoing the cloud robotics paper for ICRA and intermittently working on the theory for Bounty Hunting.  And I’m also planning on proposing my thesis and doing my comps this fall.  Along with getting married!

NYC for Agent Mix IJCAI Workshop 2016

Had an amazing first day in New York City.  Took the BoltBus with Leslie at 7am (July 10th).  We went and got pizza for lunch and went to the Met.  To get to the met we took the metro and walked through central park catching Pokemon along the way :).  We explored the Met for a while.  It is huge!!!  We left and grabbed an Uber back to my hotel and I checked in.  We took an Uber then back to the BoltBus stop and Leslie took the bus back to DC.

After she left I tried pizza from two more places.  At the one place I got 2 slices and a coke for $3.  I ate a slice in front of the building and then I folded the other slice up and grabbed my coke and ate, sipped, and walked.  That was so much fun!  Delicious pizza, with amazing surroundings.

Tomorrow at 11am I present at the Agent Mix Workshop a paper Ermo and I did on bounty hunting with task abandonment.  I can’t wait until 11:25 and my presentation is finished and I can have fun again :).

Going to have to figure out what I want to do in the free time!  I’ll post more then!

I’m Engaged!

On June 29th 2016 I formally asked Leslie Ann Brown to marry me.  She said “Yes!”.  In a couple days, July 3rd, that will be our four month anniversary for how long we have been dating.  Before that we knew each other from seeing each other at church for the past four years.  The past four months involved a lot of skype conversations while Leslie was in Germany.  And a number of dates, double dates, cooking together, geocaching, driving around and going on adventures together both before she left for Germany and after.  We are now committing to spend the rest of our lives together.  To love each other, help each other, and care for each other.

So, today Leslie came to the lab and she worked on her stuff and I worked on things I needed to get done at the lab.  But I had in mind that I would propose to Leslie in the afternoon.  I wanted to take Leslie to the parking lot of where I sat in the car with her waiting for the rest of my friends to get there to look at the stars at GMU’s observatory.  Also, it was where she first kissed me.  But to get her to the parking lot there is a Giant in the same shopping center and it was being renovated and I thought it was finished.  However, when I got there it was still closed.  So, I was like “I didn’t come over here just to get groceries to make the meatball sub.”  So, I pulled into a spot close to where we sat in my car those many months ago and asked “Will you marry me?”.  She said “Yes!”.  And then I got out a diamond necklace and put it on her.  That necklace has been passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now down to my future wife.  So, now that parking lot is also where I proposed to Leslie.  We have many good memories in that parking lot.

I love you Leslie!

Leslie’s Birthday!

My girlfriend, Leslie, had her birthday today :)!  I didn’t get to celebrate it with her because she is in Germany with her sister and brother-in-law.  She baked herself her special chocolate cake, took care of her niece, worked on applying for a job, and had fun doing some digital art for Beyond Porch and Portal (the book she is working on) while listening to a podcast.  So, I think all in all she had a pretty nice birthday, although I wish she was with me!  Planning on spending as much time with her as possible when she gets home :).  I can’t wait!

Research and Math :)

The IROS paper was submitted 10 minutes before the deadline on March 1st.  The paper was okay, but I’m not thrilled about it because it is only the beginning stages of the work.  So, it doesn’t really use the bounty hunting stuff to its fullest.  Future papers will hopefully provide that.  We also had to create a video.  Ermo and I got the footage of the Pioneer doing the visual servoing on the ball both indoors and semi-successfully outdoors (either due to lighting or to the massively long ping times was not able always stop in time before running into the ball).

Now that is over I’m taking a bit of a break from working with robots and am working with Ermo to do some research in continuous action multiagent learning (CAMAL our acronym, don’t steal it!).  It has been a ton of fun!  I’ve been doing derivations and learning new math (and re-learning some old math!).  Getting to work out how the equations and proofs of convergence happen I believe will aid me in my work with doing proofs of convergence with bounty hunting in the future.  So, it is benefiting Ermo and me at the same time and we are having fun in the process :)!  We are working on this for a paper in NIPS.  If our algorithm concept is successful and we can show some convergence we should have a very strong NIPS paper.  David is also trying to join in and we can greatly use his help as it is a very challenging problem.  Main issue is he is still taking classes.  Can’t wait for his classes to be done!

Dan wants us to write up a paper for the Robocup Symposium on how we were able to adjust the behaviors to work with a robot that could not turn that well using HiTAB (our learning from demonstration software).  That is due March 25!  He just told us about it this monday.  Thankfully though we won’t have to produce any experiments or results we just need to write about what we did.  So we are actually pushing that off until the 22nd because Ermo and I need to make a poster and a slide for GMU’s first CS symposium.  Just what we need, not!  The really frustrating part is that it is mandatory for all CS PhD students to attend and those selected to present are required to present!  So, it is not optional.  I guess they figured no one would show up otherwise.


Starting on IROS 2016 paper

I got the rejection email from AAMAS last week for my paper on task abandonment for my bounty hunting system.  However, I sort of was expecting this as it needs some more theoretical basis.  So, I have to work on that.

In the mean time there is still IROS!  That is in Korea :).  The paper is due March 1st and I just started working on getting the code written for that.  But this is a fun paper as it is combining cloud robotics (can’t stand that name!) and my bounty hunting work.  So, I’m giving myself a lightning fast tutorial on ROS, raspberry pi, and the pioneer 3dx robot!  Plan is to get the base system working by friday so next week we can start doing experiments and collecting results.  Then the week before the paper is due we can write it!  So, I think we will have just enough time to pull it off.  At least this paper seems likely to be accepted as it both cloud robotics and bounty hunting are very cutting edge and putting it all on an actual robot should seal the deal :)!  So, hopefully I’ll be going to Korea in October!