Contribute to AI/ML research on increasing RL policy robustness and bridging the sim-to-real performance gap between simulated and real-world robotics environments as part of USC’s Robotic Embedded Systems Lab
Integrate Deep RL architectures with evolutionary/genetic algorithms to build generalizable methods for robotics learning objectives, enabling robots to achieve consistently high performance across dynamic environments
Currently developing novel RL accelerators using Quality-Diversity techniques to optimize and illuminate the latent space of robot locomotion policies
Summer 2022 – Present
Undergraduate Research Assistant (Prof. Stefanos Nikolaidis’s Group)
Contribute to projects enabling policy generation for robotic autonomous tasks as part of Prof. Stefanos Nikolaidis’s group in USC’s Interactive and Collaborative Autonomous Robotics lab
Utilize statistical and ML libraries to develop new quality diversity optimization algorithms for stochastic RL contexts, working with Deep Learning models such as StyleGAN and algorithms including MAP-Elites
Current work focuses on identifying new archiving mechanisms to generalize Quality-Diversity to non-uniform domains and adapting existing illumination algorithms to distortions when searching high-dimensional spaces
Publication: Lee, D. H., Palaparthi, A. V., Fontaine, M. C., Tjanaka, B, & Nikolaidis, S. Density Descent for Diversity Optimization https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2312.11331 – Submitted to Artificial Intelligence and Statistics Conference 2024
Programming projects: created a solution to automate workload distribution using Python/JSON; designing and building company website using HTML/CSS; helped set up network, configured switches/WiFi access points
Microbiology: leveraged lab robotics to process/analyze product and environmental samples to ensure food safety
Lead a team of 30+ student instructors and graders to provide teaching support for students learning complex algorithm design, runtime analysis, and rigorous proof concepts through office hours, discussion sections, and exam preparation
Head content design and development of course materials and supplemental guides for students
Mentor novice course producers on how to approach teaching difficult topics in an individual and group setting
Led a team of 40 undergraduate instructors and graders to organize office hours, lead homework collaboration sessions, and facilitate content development/testing in order to support to a 370+ student course
Held exam review sessions with 150+ students and weekly discussions with 70+ attendees, where I designed comprehensive mini-lectures to review content and engage in problem-solving sessions to solidify understanding of course material
Designed and built a playable version of the classic game Plants vs Zombies on an FPGA, including in-game plant motion animation. Code available upon request.
Designed and built an audio analysis program using a Raspberry Pi to detect audio input, an ML model to generate sheet music, and subsequent analysis to convert and play the equivalent piano song. Code available upon request.
Designed and created a multifunctional web app extension where users can think, plan, and remember their day-to-day tasks and long-term goals. Code available upon request.
Implemented an overlay network for communication between servers, building the Link, Network, Transport, and Applications layers from scratch. Code available upon request.
Implemented a dynamic cheat code generator to the probablistic, interactive word-guessing game Wordle in C++. Code available upon request.
Designed, developed, and pitched Paddle, a full-stack React Native web application that generates customized test prep plans tailored to help students meet their academic goals. GitHub | Demo Video
Created a parallelized model of a stock trading system in which multiple shares can be traded simultaneously across companies. Implemented using multithreading in Java. Code available upon request.
Organizations I’m Involved in Outside the Classroom
For five years, I have been involved in creating, leading, and coaching the FIRST robotics team at Silver Creek High School. As a mentor, I strive to help students interested in STEM learn and practice introductory principles of engineering through designing, building, and testing a competition-ready robot. The SCHS Raiderbots have also achieved and maintained gender parity among the team for several years; we focus on creating an environment where students of all backgrounds and experience levels are welcomed and encouraged to participate.
Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Kappa Phi
At USC, I am involved in the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, invitation-only societies with membership awarded to select engineering students based on outstanding academic achievement.
Girls Teaching Girls to Code
I am a member of GTGTC, an international organization centered on empowering young women to explore careers in computer science and engineering.