Hod Lipson

Columbia University

The Robotic Scientist: 
Automating discovery, from cognitive robotics to computational biology

Can machines discover scientific laws automatically? Despite the prevalence of big data, the process of distilling data into scientific laws has resisted automation. Particularly challenging are situations with small amounts of data that is difficult or expensive to collect. The talk will outline a series of recent research projects, starting with self-reflecting robotic systems, ending with machines that can formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and interpret the results in order to discover new scientific laws. We will see examples from psychology to cosmology, from classical physics to modern physics, from big science to small science.

Hod Lipson is a professor of Engineering at Columbia University in New York, and a co-author of the award-winning book Fabricated: The New World of 3D printing, and Driverless: Intelligent cars and the road ahead, appearing this fall. His work on self-aware and self-replicating robots challenges conventional views of robotics, and his TED talk on self-aware machines is one of the most viewed presentations on AI. Lipson has co-authored over 300 publications that received 11,000 citations to date. He directs the Creative Machines Lab, which pioneers new ways to make machines that create, and machines that are creative. For more information visit hodlipson.com.