Concerns about the spread of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear reactors — even as scientists are still trying to assess the consequences of the year-old Deepwater Horizon oil spill — have provided a painful reminder of just how important environmental monitoring can be. But collecting data on large expanses of land and sea can require massive deployments of resources.At the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May, MIT researchers will present a new algorithm enabling sensor-laden robots to focus on the parts of their environments that change most frequently, without losing track of the regions that change more slowly. At the same conference, they’ll present a second paper describing a test run of the algorithm on underwater sensors that researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are using to study algae blooms.The work of Daniela Rus, a professor of computer science and...
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