My research interests are in online learning and model building for assistive robotics. In other words, I work on robots that adapt to physical, environmental and human changes to better help users accomplish their goals. For example, I’ve designed and built two smart robotic wheelchairs that help young children explore their environment safely. On the algorithmic side, I’ve developed a couple of online-learning algorithms that enable robots to learn from sensor streams.
Some history: I was born in Kuala Lumpur and spent most of my young years messing around with computers (like many children of my generation). After my A-levels, I enrolled at the University of California, Davis under a Regents Scholarship and after four fun-filled years, graduated with a double major (double-degree) in Computer Science and Economics. I then spent three rather boring months as an associate at one of the big 4 accountancy firms; a job I happily left to pursue to my Masters at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
My Masters projects were in evolutionary computation with Dr. Michael Kirley and Grid (now Cloud) computing with Dr. Raj Buyya, both of whom I’m grateful to for getting me interested in research. I went on to work for three years at the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore. My research interests at the time were mainly in epidemiology, complex networks and evolutionary computation.
These days, I spend most of my time playing with robots and algorithms at the Personal Robotics Laboratory. The lab is a wonderful place to do research. Not only do we have nice toys: an iCub, two Naos, a variety of mobile robots and a motion capture system, the people (PhDs, postdocs and students) are amazing to be around.
When not at the lab, I enjoy teaching big kids as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or little kids with the Next Generation Project. The generous Khazanah Global Scholarship has allowed me to pursue my PhD full-time without needing to work so, my part-time jobs are mostly for pleasure.
I am also Engineering Chair for the UK Space Design Competition (join if you’re a high school student in the UK!) and a Design London Fellow. I also play badminton and table-tennis and love to read (at the moment, sci-fi has been stealing many hours from my day).