CSC News

February 28, 2017

Fidelity Investments Speakers Series Features Dr. Peter Wurman

Please join us on March 28th at 6 p.m. in room 1231 in Engineering Building 2 for the final talk in the Spring 2017 Fidelity Investments “Leadership in Technology” Speakers Series.
Our special guest speaker will be Dr. Peter Wurman, VP of Engineering at Cogitai, a startup in the machine learning space.  His talk topic will be “The Disruptive Power of Robots.”
Prior to Cogitai, Wurman was CTO of Kiva Systems, the Boston-based company that pioneered the use of mobile robotics in warehouses and distribution facilities. He joined Kiva in 2004 as a technical co-founder with Raff D’Andrea to help founder Mick Mountz bring his vision to life. In May of 2012, Kiva was acquired by, which has now deployed tens of thousands of Kiva robots into its warehouses. While at Amazon, Wurman founded the Amazon Picking Challenge, an international robotics competition pushing the state of the art in warehouse automation. 

Prior to joining Kiva, Wurman was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at NC State University in Raleigh, NC.  His teaching focus was e-commerce systems, and his research focused on electronic auctions (especially combinatorial auctions), multi-agent systems, and resource allocation.  Unfortunately, he never got to savor the fruits of earning tenure, as the Kiva opportunity had become too attractive and he moved his family to Boston.

Wurman earned his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 1999, and his BS in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1987.
Abstract: Kiva Systems introduced swarms of agile robots into an industry dominated by stationary conveyor systems. The path from concept through successful startup and eventual acquisition involved challenges on all fronts. In this talk he will explain the business problem that motivated the innovation, Kiva technology and the benefits it brought to customers, and the future of applications of robotics in warehouses.
The event is free and open to the public.  Ample free parking is available on Centennial Campus after 5 pm.  For directions and more information, click here.
These lectures have been approved by the CSC Graduate Oversight Committee to count toward the required lectures for graduate students.

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