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Spring Berman will join the faculty of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy as assistant professor in June 2012. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in computer science at Harvard University. Her research expertise is in swarm robotics, including modeling, analysis and control of multirobot systems.

At Harvard, Berman has been working on the RoboBees project, which aims to create a swarm of robotic bees capable of both flying autonomously and accomplishing tasks as a group. The individual robots are very light, with limited power, actuation, sensing, and computing.  Berman is working on the colony team, which is developing algorithms and control strategies that are scalable with the swarm size to program the simple robots so that they collectively achieve a target objective.

“Spring is working on timely research topics that have potential to not only greatly impact swarm robotics, but also put her in a position to impact a wide range of multidisciplinary problems,” says Kyle Squires, school director, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

Coordinated swarms of these very small, agile robots can be used for crop pollination, monitoring hazardous environments or search and rescue operations.

She is also interested in the biological applications of this research, for example, optimizing nanoparticle systems for targeted cancer treatment and understanding the behavior of natural swarms such as social insect colonies.

Berman’s interest in the field began with her undergraduate research at Princeton, where she worked on a project developing sampling strategies for coordinated groups of underwater gliders that could be used to sense ocean features such as upwellings and temperature fronts.

Berman holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S.E. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.

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