After receiving his “Vordiplom” from the Technical University of Munich in 2000, Nikolaus graduated in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) in spring 2003 (Dipl. Ing. ETH). During his master’s studies, he spent a term at Lunds Tekniska Högskola (Lund Institute of Technology, Sweden) as an exchange student at the Department of Automatic Control. Nikolaus wrote his master’s thesis at the Collective Robotics Group at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, about collaborative coverage.
After graduation, Nikolaus worked as a research assistant in the Collective Robotics Group at Caltech. Now, he is pursuing his graduate studies in Computer Science in the Swarm Intelligent Systems Group (SWIS). In summer 2005, Nikolaus participated at the 2nd EURON/GEOPLEX Summer School on Modeling and Control of Complex Dynamical Systems at the University of Bologna.
10/2000-03/2003:Masters in Electrical Engineering, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ)
- Best Paper Award at the 8th International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems (DARS), Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 2006.
- International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR) Student Travel Fellowship Award at the 10th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2006.
Media coverage and public appearance
- “Swarm Theory”, by Peter Miller. National Geographic, July 2007, Washington, DC, USA.
- “Les robots cherchent la petite bête“, by Emmanuelle Jacquet, 2006. 5min, Tele Suisse Romande/Nuovo.
- “Alice au pays des cafards / Wenn Kakerlaken Freunde werden”, by Jean-Pierre Gibrat, 2006. 52min, Trans Europe Film, ARTE France/Germany, CNRS Images/Media.
- “New SWIS Army – Developing collective intelligence”, by Bill Weaver. Scientific Computing, July 2006, Advantage Business Media, Rockaway, NJ, USA.
- The inspection experiment was featured 10 days long running 20 robots for 10 hours a day at an exhibition “Consciences à l’oeuvre” taking place in a local museum in Lausanne during the swiss wide festival Science et Cite 2005 , organised every four years.
- “L’intelligence collective des robots”, Sciensationnel – Cerveau et Conscience, No. 5. EPFL outreaching magazine for young scientists, 2005. Circulation 8000 issues.
- “Plus de frontière entre réel et imaginaire”, Flash, No. 7, pages 10-11, 2005. Internal EPFL newspaper.
Topics of Interest
My research interest is the design and analysis of swarm-intelligent systems, the modeling of their dynamics, and their implementation on real robotic platforms.
Paramount questions are how potentially intelligent collective behavior emerges out of the interaction of a large number of individuals, and how an individual needs to be designed in order to achieve a desired collective behavior.
I am also interested in contrasting self-organized approaches with classical deterministic approaches for multi-robot coordination.