UTN recruits Doctoral Researcher from Online Course Mobile Robotics

Picking up a glass of water: a piece of cake for us, a major achievement for a machine. At UTN, Simone Silenzi has been working on his doctorate on how to teach robots to grasp since May. He is also working on computer vision, mobile robot navigation, image and speech recognition, and deep learning. The Italian national was a participant in the online course Mobile Robotics, which was offered in the winter semester of 2022/2023 as a prototype for future teaching. He originally applied for the course because he wanted to further his education in the field of AI: “There were many young students from India in the course. They were incredibly dedicated in their studies. That motivated me to start my PhD.”

Simone completed his master’s degree in robotics with Prof. Dr. Antonio Bicchi in Pisa. For his thesis, he researched how robots can grasp objects in messy places, for example, books from an unsorted shelf. Before moving to Nuremberg, he worked in software development at an automotive supplier in Turin. He is no stranger to computer systems: his father is a computer scientist, his mother a mathematician. He has been involved in programming software since he was a child. “Actually, I wanted to go more in the direction of engineering with my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering – now I am back to software. But I like the fact that I can take both an engineer’s and a programmer’s perspective when developing systems.” His decision to pursue a doctorate at UTN is primarily thematic: His research interests lie in the intersection of robotics and machine learning – and thus in the focus areas of founding chair Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard. In addition, he can witness the establishment of a department at the newly founded university and deal with many different research topics.

Simone has already settled in well in Nuremberg: “In Germany, I miss a bit of the good food of Italy. But I like the atmosphere at work, we just have a fantastic team. And I think it’s great that Nuremberg is so multicultural and international.”