Carnegie Mellon University
July 21, 2022

Murphy and Pathak Named 2022 DARPA Risers

By Caroline Sheedy

Peter Kerwin
  • University Communications & Marketing
  • 412-268-1151

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has named Carnegie Mellon University's Max Murphy and Deepak Pathak as part of the 2022 class of DARPA Risers. Each year the agency selects a cohort of outstanding early-career researchers to be recognized for their work and participate in a symposium.

Murphy, a postdoctoral associate and biomedical engineer, works with Douglas Weber, the Akhtar and Bhutta Professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Neuroscience Institute (NI) and Darcy Griffin, a NI special faculty researcher. The NeuroMechatronics lab brings together neuroscientists and engineers to develop new strategies and devices to treat neurological disorders. Murphy will present on brain-computer interface work.

"I'm excited to showcase some of the technical successes we've had and some ideas for how a future initiative might make use of these results," Murphy said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to make connections that could allow me to pursue these collaborative kinds of projects."

Weber, who nominated Murphy, said the 2022 class of DARPA Risers has potential for exciting and unexpected collaborations.

"DARPA plays a vital role in driving innovation in many seemingly disparate areas of science and technology, including neuroscience," he said. "Max's work on high-precision noninvasive neurostimulation technology may enable new treatments for a multitude of brain disorders and is a great example of DARPA's ability to inspire and challenge the research community to tackle important, but difficult problems."

DARPA scientists have a history of working effectively across disciplines, yielding a long list of breakthrough technologies including the internet, autonomous vehicles and mRNA vaccines.

Pathak, an assistant professor in the School of Computer Science and member of the Robotics Institute and Machine Learning Department works in artificial intelligence at the intersection of computer vision, machine learning and robotics. He is looking forward to talking with others who do fundamental research and getting feedback from a wide community.

"The research goal of our group is building robotic agents that can perceive, understand and act in the world the way humans do," Pathak said. "We borrow ideas from developmental psychology and motor development to see how those principles can guide us in building real-world robotic agents. It will be interesting to hear from researchers from different areas."

Murphy and Pathak will both present their work at a DARPA Forward symposium in October.

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