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.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NASA Mars Orbiter Catches Twister in Action - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

"Dust devils occur on Earth as well as on Mars. They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dust they pull off the ground. Unlike a tornado, a dust devil typically forms on a clear day when the ground is heated by the sun, warming the air just above the ground. As heated air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler air above it, the air may begin to rotate, if conditions are just right."

High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured the image on Feb. 16, 2012, while the orbiter passed over the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars. In the area observed, paths of many previous whirlwinds, or dust devils, are visible as streaks on the dusty surface.

Read more ...
NASA Mars Orbiter Catches Twister in Action - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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!