Scientific American Guest Blog
The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or:
How I Learned to Stop Worrying
and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life.
Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
New! Our Startup: ROOT Robotics!
(press release, current news)
Research Interests: My group is interested in understanding and engineering self-organizing collective systems; we investigate many topics on the border of CS and biology. Two main areas are: (1) Biologically-inspired multi-agent systems: collective decentralized algorithms and swarm robotics (2) Biological multi-agent systems: models of multicellular morphogenesis and collective insect behavior. For more about our lab: SSR website.
Spring 2018, CS189 (Autonomous Robot Systems)
Fall 2017, CS289 (Bio-inspired Multi-agent Systems)
Office Hours: By appointment (no more walk in office hours until fall)
Contact: 33 Oxford Street, room 235 (Maxwell-Dworkin Bldg), Cambridge MA 02138.
rad at eecs harvard edu (note: I do not check email over the weekend)
I am a Professor in Computer Science, at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I am also a Core Faculty Member of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, where I co-lead the BioRobotics Platform. Before becoming faculty, I spent a year as a Research Fellow in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. I received my PhD and was a Postdoc Lecturer at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), as a member of the Amorphous Computing Group, supported by the Bell Labs GRPW Fellowship. I am grateful to have received the Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship (2005), NSF Career Award (2007), Anita Borg Early Career Award (2010), Radcliffe Fellowship (2012), and to be named as one of the Nature 10: Top ten scientists and engineers of 2014 by the journal Nature (Dec 2014). I am co-founder and Scientific Advisor of an educational robotics company, ROOT Robotics (Aug 2017), and our lab's Kilobots are available for purchase from K-Team Inc. You can find out more about my research from a TED talk that I recently gave at the annual TED conference in Vancouver in April 2017.
I am also the author of a Scientific American blog article on tenure-track life (7 year postdoc), the founding advisor for the Harvard Women-in-CS group (WICS), and a strong advocate for a nurturing and inclusive culture in science and for gender parity in academia. I am honored to have received the McDonald Mentoring Award, and to have a large network of mentees and peers who care about these same issues.
Personal Bio: Outside of research, I enjoy the arts (painting, music and dance) and our Indian(me)+AfroCaribbean(Q) culture with my husband and two teenagers. Civic engagement and social justice is very important to my family. This year my husband Quinton Zondervan was elected to the Cambridge City Council and my daughter Jahnavi Zondervan is on the student government at the CRLS public high-school and part of the Black Students Union. I work on many gender equity and diversity efforts within Harvard and Robotics/CS/Academia; you can read more about this on my activism page.