Explaining Why a Problem Matters Key to 3MT Success

School of Interactive Computing Ph.D. student Tesca Fitzgerald has made the finals of the second annual Georgia Tech Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Fitzgerald will present her research into developing cognitive systems for interactive robots during the final round of the competition on Nov. 15 from 5-8 p.m. in the LeCraw Auditorium at Scheller College of Business.  

Fitzgerald's research focuses on helping robots to leverage skills learned in one demonstration for other similar tasks. “Robots can learn to complete a task by receiving a demonstration of it from a human teacher,” said Fitzgerald. “However, they cannot immediately reuse that knowledge to complete similar tasks with different objects.”

Based on a competition that started at the University of Queensland in Australia and has spread to universities around the world, Fitzgerald and nine other doctoral students from across campus will have just three minutes to explain the crux of their work to a group of judges and an audience.

“The time limit is challenging, but I feel that the bigger challenge is trying to explain my research topic to an academic audience with various backgrounds,” said Fitzgerald. “When presenting to a broad audience as in the 3 Minute Thesis, it's just as important to convey why the problem even matters in the first place, and why they should care about the proposed solution, too.”

The following students, who were selected during two preliminary rounds held in October, will compete for three research travel grants ranging from $2,000 to $1,000 and a $500 People’s Choice grant:

  • Lalit Arun Darunte, Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering
    CO2 Capture from Air
  • Diego Dumani Jarquin, Biomedical Engineering
    Photoacoustic Imaging and Therapy Monitoring of Lymph Node Metastasis
  • Tesca Fitzgerald, Interactive Computing
    Teaching Robots to Reuse Skills
  • Pranav Kalelkar, Chemistry
    Plastic Implants: A Novel Way to Heal Broken Bones
  • Chandana Kolluru, Materials Science and Engineering
    Microneedles for Polio Vaccination
  • Bharath Hebbe Madhusudhana, Physics
    Reading Out the Geometry from an Atom’s Memory
  • Monica McNerney, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Bacterial biosensors: Low-cost, Field-friendly Nutrition Tests
  • Akanksha Krishnakumar Menon, Mechanical Engineering
    Generating Power from Printed Plastics
  • Aravind Samba Murthy, Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Recovering Kinetic Energy Using Electric Motors
  • Kirsten Parratt, Materials Science and Engineering
    Boosting Statistical Power- Building Better Biomaterials

For more information about the 3MT competition, visit www.grad.gatech.edu/3MT.

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Ben Snedeker, Communications Manager