Confirmed guest participants for Bot Party Hackathon 2016

Friday, September 2

6pm Registration (also HERE)
7pm Orientation and Project breakdowns
7:30pm Breakouts with guest experts
8:30pm Pitches and grouping
9pm Ribbon Cutting Robot & start!

Kory Mathewson
Kory Mathewson with robot “Pyggy”

Kory Mathewson is currently an intern on the Twitter Cortex team working in San Francisco, California. His passions lay at the interface between humans and other intelligent systems. He is completing a PhD at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Richard Sutton and Dr. Patrick Pilarski. In this work, he is progressing interactive machine learning algorithms for deployment on robotic platforms and big data personalization systems. He also holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. To find out more, visit


Andrea Thomaz is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Thomaz joined Texas ECE in January 2016 after serving as an Associate Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2007-2016. She earned a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, and Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in 2002 and 2006. Andrea is published in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Human-Robot Interaction. Her research aims to computationally model mechanisms of human social learning in order to build social robots and other machines that are intuitive for everyday people to teach. Prof. Thomaz received an NSF CAREER award in 2010 and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2008. She was named to Popular Science magazine’s Brilliant 10 List (link is external) in 2012. In 2009, she was named to the MIT Tech Review Top Young Innovators Under 35. (link is external)

Scott Niekum
Scott Niekum

Scott Niekum, Assistant professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin, directs the Personal Autonomous Robotics Lab (PeARL) at the University of Texas and is a core faculty member in the interdepartmental robotics group. Prior to joining UT Austin, Niekum was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. He received his PhD in computer science in September 2013 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the supervision of Andrew Barto. His research interests include learning from demonstration, robotic manipulation, human-robot interaction, time-series analysis, and reinforcement learning.

Brad Knox
Brad Knox with robot emoter

Brad Knox is founder and CEO of Emoters. From 2012–2014, he was a postdoctoral researcher position at the MIT Media Lab. His research interests spanned machine learning, human-robot interaction, and psychology, especially machine learning algorithms that learn through human interaction. Brad received a PhD in computer science at the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in psychology from Texas A&M University. Brad received the Best Paper Award at ICSR 2012 and the Best Student Paper Award at AAMAS 2010, and his dissertation “Learning from Human-Generated Reward” received the Bert Kay Dissertation Award from his doctoral department for best dissertation. He was named to IEEE’s AI 10 to Watch in 2013.