This Week at Udacity, Aug 10 edition

Our experts were everywhere this week, talking Deep Learning with Jax Magazine, AI for Finance with I Programmer, Design Systems with Atlassian, and more!

Are you interested in deep learning? Then we’ve got a great article for you, featuring Mat Leonard, the Head of Udacity’s School of AI:

“Deep learning has fundamentally changed how humans interact with machines and it’s clear that AI will impact nearly every industry. Within the next five to ten years, deep learning will be another essential skill in a developer’s toolkit. Now is the perfect time to get involved in the deep learning community, just as the new era in software begins.”

If you’ve got the AI bug, you also might want to check out what I Programmer had to say about our new Artificial Intelligence for Trading Nanodegree program!

“The program, which has been developed in collaboration with top industry professionals with prior experience at JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Millennium Management has been designed to enable students to learn the latest AI applications in trading and quantitative finance through building a portfolio of real-world projects.”

If AI and Deep Learning aren’t quite your thing, then maybe you’d like to dive into some serious Design Thinking? We got you covered there too! This is a Save the Date moment you don’t want to miss:

“We’ll be talking with the design system team at Udacity: the leading online education platform for learning AI, coding, and design. Jennie, Casey, and Fritz will share their history of building and shipping a design system at Udacity: challenges the team faced, how they got buy-in from leadership, how they maintain their system, and much more.”

It’s one of the things I love about working at Udacity, being surrounded by passionate experts everywhere I look! They’re out in the world, but they’re also publishing right here at home! For example, our own David Silver, who heads up our Autonomous Systems team, gave a great introduction to one of our newest Self-Driving Car offerings earlier this week:

And Karim Chamaa, one of the ace Content Developers with the Robotics team at Udacity, penned a wonderful post celebrating the first submission to our KUKA Robotics Challenge:

And Gloria Yen, Content Developer for our Google AdWords Nanodegree program, just made available a fantastic Digital Marketing resource:

Whew! That’s a lot of expert activity. But we’re not done yet! One more feature we simply cannot forget. It’s your favorite part of the week and mine …

The Tweet of the Week!

What do you get when you combine a Udacity scholarship recipient, and a Stewie Griffin gif? This week’s tweet, of course!

And THAT … is This Week at Udacity!


This post was written by Christopher Watkins, Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer, Udacity

News From The KUKA Robotics Challenge: The First Submission Is In!

We’ve received the first submission for the KUKA Robotics Challenge, and deployed it on a real 6-DOF KUKA arm located at the KIT learning lab in Germany!

Earlier this month, we launched the KUKA Robotics Challenge in partnership with KUKA and the Learning Lab at KIT. The challenge is open to students enrolled in our Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree program, and the winner receives a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Germany. They’ll visit the new KUKA Udacity Learning Lab at KIT, and attend the NVIDIA GTC Conference in Munich.

The Challenge

Participants in the KUKA Robotics Challenge will compete in a race to navigate a real KUKA iiwa robot, equipped with a Schunk gripper and Roboception camera, through a physical 2D maze. Their code will search for a path, and navigate the robot through the maze by commanding 2D positions and an orientation angle to get around corners in the fastest time possible.

The First Submission

Almost immediately after we announced the challenge, Nanodegree program student Chin-kiat Ong rushed to write a path planning algorithm designed to search blindly for a path inside the maze. He executed his path to navigate the robot by commanding 2D positions and an orientation angle. This then caused the grasping object to successfully move from a predefined start position to a goal one. All of this was done inside a simulator embedded in our Udacity Workspace — an online full GPU-driven Ubuntu desktop.

After validating his planner, he submitted his code to Germany through our Workspace, and waited for his video feed. He was then able to watch a video of his code running on a real-world industrial arm! With his submission now in, new challenge participants will have to beat his fastest time to win the challenge!

Chin-kiat Ong has generously shared a video of his submission. Watch below!

Challenge Phases

We are running the KUKA Robotics Challenge in two consecutive phases — the practice phase, followed by the contest phase. During the practice phase (which is currently running), students receive a configuration of start and goal states to practice with. Later, when we begin the contest phase, the configuration of start and goal states will be hidden. In the contest phase, every submission matters, because students are actively competing to win the prize. In both phases, participants aim to plan and move as fast as possible, and compare times via a leaderboard. When a participant submits their code, they get a video feed of the real-world KUKA arm in Germany.

What participants are saying

Through this challenge, students all across the globe are able to submit code and watch it run on a real-world robot. It’s an incredible opportunity, and we are already receiving tons of positive feedback from participants:

“This was completely fascinating! There’s something about writing code that impacts physical objects that makes it so much more visceral.”

“Excitement in solving a real world problem is very unique and challenging.”

“I felt the itch to finish this project even when I was sleeping, as it was fun and challenging to come up with different methods to solve the problem.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to enter the KUKA Robotics Challenge!

If you’re an aspiring roboticist, and you’re excited by the prospect of seeing your code run on a real robot in this challenge, you can enroll in our Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree program today and take on the challenge! You will start by learning the fundamental of the Robot Operating System (ROS), and path planning algorithms. Then, you’ll write your code, test it, and submit it, at which point you’ll receive your video feed.

Imagine posting a video like that on your LinkedIn profile? Talk about impressing employers!

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