Nabin K. Malakar, Ph.D.

I am a computational physicist working on societal applications of machine-learning techniques.

Research Links

My research interests span multi-disciplinary fields involving Societal applications of Machine Learning, Decision-theoretic approach to automated Experimental Design, Bayesian statistical data analysis and signal processing.


Interested about the picture? Autonomous experimental design allows us to answer the question of where to take the measurements. More about it is here...


I addition to the research, I also like to hike, bike, read and play with water color.

Thanks for the visit. Please feel free to visit my Weblogs.

Welcome to Please visit again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Boston Dynamics and Cheetah, the running robot

Boston Dynamics has produced a bio-inspired running prototype, called Cheetah, which I am sure will be running outdoors soon.
Funded by DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program, it might be the fastest running 4-legged robot to date running at 18 miles per hour. (Homework: convert it into km/hr :P)

You probably remember their alpha dog:

which could stand up in couple of seconds, and their field robot called big dog, and little dog.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Detecting life by reflected, polarized light

Is There Life on Earth?: "...the light reflected by a planet is polarized, while the light from the host star is not. So polarimetric techniques help us to pick out the faint reflected light of an exoplanet from the dazzling starlight."

ESO website:
Research paper: Nature paper


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Swarm of Helicopters playing James Bond and other neat tricks

In this post, I will be presenting two interesting videos. These two nice examples illustrate how one could automate the process by assigning the task to the individuals, and allow them to act as a swarm.

1. In the video shown, small fleet of flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme. Each of them are assigned tasks such as playing keyboard, drums and maracas etc.  These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

2. Second is an example of swarm of nano robots performing some neat tricks. Courtesy of GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania.

The TED talk:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Planets, Sun and Moon Align

Feb 25th, as I came out of my office I looked into the sky.
Previously, I had read about the alignment of the brightest objects in the night sky in the wired (
I could see the moon and the Jupiter, bright and clear. Mercury was already below the horizon. So, I pulled out my Google-sky in the cell. And there was the surprise!!!
 Not only three, there were seven members of the solar system:  Jupiter, Venus, Moon,  Uranus, Mercury, Sun and Neptune; aligned nearly on a straight line.  I took the screenshot.
Yes, when you do not have a telescope, this is probably how you do your share of astronomical observation. It was  fun, nonetheless.
See the picture below:

GoogleSky screeshot in android cm7 showing
Jupiter, Venus, (Moon),  Uranus, Mercury, Sun and Neptune are aligned nearly on a straight line.
Please click on the image for bigger picture.
Moreover, Saturn was on the same line... somewhere in the direction below my feet...
I think you may be able to watch the same thing on Feb 26th, just after the sun sets.Try!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Color-coded boarding scheme

The airlines board aircrafts in the ascending order of "Zones". Zone 1, 2 and 3 etc are called in order.
Everyone knows how chaotic and time consuming it is. Because the next person in line has to wait for people who are trying to stow their luggage. This creates a long line. So, It does make sense to fill the plane from the back and come progressively front-ward.   People with kids and needing assistance should be boarded first.

Recently there are various ideas being put forward to speed up the boarding airplanes. It seems that boarding from back of the plane and filling window-seat passengers are the best way [see 1 and 2]. I like the Wilma boarding scheme where the window seats are zone 1 and aisle seats are zone 3.

Having seen some of the schemes to speed up the boarding, I am inspired to propose a color-coded boarding scheme. My idea is closer to steffen's method (see figures).
In this scheme, instead of calling zones, the calling is dependent upon the color-codes say blue, green, purple, yellow etc. Blue and green color seats are  the window seats are are called first.  I realized that  in [2] it is similar to the wilma scheme.
If tickets are booked together, in the case of husband/wife/ friend scenario, they can be coded the same color.

The seats are filled from back to front in an alternate seats. As shown in the figure, 1, 2, 3 etc are blue and seats 19, 20, 21 etc are also blue. If 1 and 25 booked together, then they are grouped together as blue. The numbers 13, 14, 15 and 7, 8, 9 are green color. In this way, the passengers get enough space to move around to stow their luggage and should make boarding faster. The assignment of color code can be made while the boarding card is being printed. Alignment of passengers in the gate will make  the boarding smoother. Just an idea.
Steffen method of seating order. See [2 ,3] for details. See text for details on how it might be possible to make it faster by color-coded boarding.

The final result might look like:
Color coded boarded scheme. Blue and green are called  first by the  stewards  in a sequence.
People who booked flights together get the same color code as in #5 or #18.