Undergraduate Research

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Pranav Atreya

Computer Science and Physics
Graduation Year:
Don’t be afraid to do research in an area you don’t know much about or think is not that interesting. It may be that over the course of your research you develop a deep interest for it!

Please give a brief, simplified overview of your research project.

My current research involves using machine learning and computer vision techniques to better enable ground robots to complete locomotion tasks.

Describe the tasks you engage in as part of your work.

Whilst doing research, most of my time is spent coding, running robot experiments, reading relevant literature, discussing with fellow lab mates, and thinking critically to solve the research problems at hand.

Describe what you thought college might be like before you came to UT. Did you consider research when thinking about college?

Before coming to UT I thought college would mostly be centered around my classes. This of course turned out to be true, but I also spend a significant amount of time on research, much more than I had previously anticipated. I came into college fully knowing that I wanted to do research, but until I joined a lab, I knew little of what the day-to-day research would actually look like.

How did you get involved with your research project?

I got involved with my current research project after my professor suggested I work on it. I had at that point just finished submitting my previous research to a conference and was ready to move on to something new.

Do you see your project connecting with your plans for your future?

My plan for my immediate future is to do a Ph.D. In that sense, I do indeed see my current research connecting with this plan. I’m not yet fully sure what research problem I want to tackle during my Ph.D., but it’ll probably be in the areas of mobile robotics and robot learning, so my current project will serve as a good experience for this.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve gotten to do for this project?

Taking a robot home with me for winter break! The robot I’m running experiments on is small enough to transport easily, so I was able to continue my research over the break by taking it with me.