UNM computer science prof partners with NASA for Swarmathon 2017

Melanie Moses, an associate professor of computer science at the University of New Mexico, has taken NASA space exploration by swarm.  In coordination with NASA, Moses and her team have created an annual NASA Swarmathon aimed at developing robotics to revolutionize the way we explore space.  

The annual Swarmathon is a national competition based challenge that is aimed at developing and collaborating robotic knowledge within colleges in the goal of vastly improving the country’s space exploration program.

Moses said the current robotics space program development can be “expensive and delicate.” She used the current Mars rover as one example.

“Our idea is to replace this extremely expensive and fragile robot with a swarm of robots, allowing us to do vastly more in terms of space exploration,” she said.  The  Swarmathon challenges students to harness their creativity in order to solve difficult and complex problems.

Not only does Moses hope to improve NASA’s space program, but she also is aiming to help increase the number of women and minorities  in STEM fields.

There’s a “huge disparity in the kinds of students (and)professionals in science,” she said.

More than 44 universities across the United States participate in the national Swarmathon. Last year, more than 80 percent of the participants were from underrepresented groups in STEM.

For more information, visit www.nasaswarmathon.com..