CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The field of robotics is one that is rapidly expanding as the number of industrial robots in use is predicted to increase to about 2.5 million in 2019. Staying on the forefront of this technology, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has invited Dr. James McLurkin, Senior Hardware Engineer at Google and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate, to be the featured speaker for the fall 2017 Distinguished Speaker Series. During his talk titled, “The Future of Robots is Swarms: Why a Thousand Robots are Better than One,” McLurkin will share his love of all things engineering with the next generation of scientists. His speech will also include a 12-robot demonstration.
The Distinguished Speaker Series will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 18, with ticket prices ranging from $30 to $150. VIP seating is also available.
A free Student Forum will precede the evening lecture and begin at 2 p.m. McLurkin will address high school and college students and those in attendance will have the opportunity to have their questions answered by one of the world’s leading robotics engineer.
As a child, McLurkin was constantly building with LEGO bricks, cardboard boxes or any other material he could get his hands on. Today, he continues this tradition. Using Mother Nature as a model, his core research is developing distributed algorithms for multi-robot systems – the software for large swarms of autonomous robots. Inspired by the behavior of ants and bees, the SwarmBots perform individual tasks that collectively contribute to the goals of the group. They were originally created during his five-year post as Lead Research Scientist at iRobot, one of the world’s leading robotics companies.
Since 1995, McLurkin has lectured extensively at companies and universities such as the Smithsonian Museum, Harvard University, Infosys, IBM and Honda. He is dedicated to illustrating the fun and excitement in science and engineering, and teaches classes to students of all ages, from elementary school to graduate school. He cherishes his “Nerd Pride” and uses it to help excite the next generation of engineers and scientists.
In 2003, McLurkin received the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, which is awarded to burgeoning MIT student inventors. Also in 2003, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of five leading robotics engineers in their “Rise of the Machines” feature, and by Black Enterprise magazine as a “Best and Brightest Under 40.”
Each spring and fall, the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Distinguished Speaker Series brings accomplished national and international speakers to campus to provide insight, provoke thought, and stimulate conversation about the country’s most compelling issues. Past speakers include Dr. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and explorer, Dr. Brian Greene, American theoretical physicist and string theorist and Astronaut Fred Haise and Legendary NASA Flight Control Director Gene Kranz.
Sponsors of the fall 2017 Distinguished Speaker Series include KRIS Communications, La Palmera, Cooper Outdoor, AEP Texas and ICA Radio. To read more about Dr. James McLurkin; or learn more about the Distinguished Speaker Series, go to http://dss.tamucc.edu/.