The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has announced that Keenan Crane, assistant professor of computer science and robotics, is one of 18 recipients of its 2018 Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. The fellowship recognizes innovative early-career researchers and includes $875,000 to aid in each fellow's research for five years.
Crane's research explores how the shapes and motions observed in nature can be faithfully expressed in a language that is completely finite and discrete, and, hence, be understood by a computer. His exploration of this question provides both new foundations for computation, as well as new ways to turn digital designs into physical, shape-shifting matter.
At CMU, his work has included computational tools for translating complex 3D designs into mechanisms that can be built by cutting, bending, inflating or milling physical material, as well as fundamental algorithms for understanding geometric data.
Crane joined the CMU faculty in 2015. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science at Caltech and previously completed an NSF Mathematical Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Columbia University's Department of Computer Science.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Packard Fellowships. To commemorate the occasion, the foundation has created a new website to celebrate the work, ideas and careers of 30 years of fellows.
"Over the past three decades, the fellowship program has been an example of our deep commitment to basic research in science and engineering," said David Orr, chair of the foundation's board of trustees. "The new class will certainly continue the tradition of the groundbreaking science that Packard fellows have become known for."