ESP Biography

ALEX LAGRASSA, MIT alum, now robotics PhD student

Major: 6-3

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2018

Picture of Alex LaGrassa

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I study robot manipulation. My goal is to get real robots to perform useful tasks without significant engineering or real world data collection.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

C14603: Programming robot arms to move objects in HSSP Summer 2021 (Jul. 10 - 31, 2021)
Robotic helpers may become more and more prevalent in our lives. An important step is being able to move a robotic arm to do useful tasks for us, such as clean a desk. We will be exploring the PyBullet simulator. Each class is structured as a short lecture, then guided lab with problems of varying difficulty geared toward all levels so students with no programming experience and students with significant robotic programming experience can benefit. By the end of this class, everyone will be able to move a simulated robot arm to pick and place a cube with a keyboard. More advanced students will be able to program in more autonomous behaviors to move a wider range of objects.

Z11309: Propaganda in the Soviet Union in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
Discuss and learn how communist propaganda influenced the values of a huge populations. We will be learning by looking at primary sources, which will be translated into English, but also consider some meanings that can be lost in translation.

Z11310: Wacky Patents in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
Blitz through basics of patent law, then take a look at some crazy inventions that got patented, Argue whether or not these inventions are patentable, then look at court cases analyzing their legality. Did you know someone successfully patented a crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

C10747: How to be Artificially Intelligent in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
Introduction to artificial intelligence algorithms. Learn how a computer can understand rule systems and generate new fortune cookie sayings! This class can change the way you think about the way you think.

C10424: Interactive Math with Computers in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
Do you wish that computers could check your math homework? Want to use your love of math to learn programming? Come prove things with us using an interactive proof assistant, which checks to make sure all of your reasoning is mathematically correct, even if it doesn't even have numbers! WIll cover very basic Coq and proving things about natural numbers.

C9735: How to be Artificially Intelligent in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
How did a computer beat a grandmaster at chess? How does a robot explain to you that Macbeth is a play about revenge, even if the word isn't mentioned to it? Learn about classic artificial intelligence algorithms and understand more about your own ways of thinking.

C9511: Python Programming (literally) in HSSP Summer 2015 (Jul. 12, 2015)
Learn how to program in Python! We will be covering the basics of -Python syntax (logic, if statements, loops) -How to use Python to do math quickly - Object Oriented Programming -Writing a game in Python

W9354: Tasty Teas in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14 - 15, 2015)
Try different kinds of teas and learn about how they are made! Yum :)

C8631: Introduction to Programming in Microsoft Excel in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Learn to code with an application you already know!! We will cover using message boxes to interact with the user, take in data,and automate data manipulation and formatting. Intended for complete beginners, but can benefit anyone. The language is Visual Basic for Applications.