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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Lydia Kavraki, 34

Software

Rice University

Lydia Kavraki made her first move between worlds when she left Greece to do a PhD in computer science at Stanford University. Drawn to the human potential of robotics, Kavraki studied how robots—from assembly line “arms” to autonomous machines—assess the obstacle-laden world and move around in it. She then created an algorithm that rapidly generates a path for a robot to follow through a given environment, using descriptions of how the robot moves, the space it’s in, obstacles it must navigate and its beginning and end points. Today, most papers on robot-path planning cite her algorithm, and engineers in the automotive industry are using variations of it to build better robotic assembly lines. Kavraki, meanwhile, has moved to a new research world, applying the rules of her algorithm to predict how two molecules will move through space and interact with each other—crucial to designing drugs. Intense and determined, Kavraki finds the two problems closely linked: “There is a potential here for solving problems that could affect our lives, whether it’s a robot that helps disabled people get out of bed or a tool that helps find a compound to treat disease.”

2002 TR35 Winners

Richard Barton

Internet and Web

Sergey Brin

Internet and Web

John Carmack

Entertainment

Josh Coates

Software

Paul Debevec

Entertainment

Shawn Fanning

Internet and Web

Justin Frankel

Internet and Web

Vinay Gidwaney

Software

Robert Guttman

Software

Travis Kalanick

Internet and Web

Lydia Kavraki

Software

Reiner Kraft

Internet and Web

Raymond Lau

Software

Max Levchin

Innovator of the Year

Pamela Lipson

Software

Rob Malda

Internet and Web

Steve McCanne

Internet and Web

Lou Montulli

Internet and Web

Kazuho Oku

Internet and Web

Larry Page

Internet and Web

Joseph Reagle

Internet and Web

Tim Tuttle

Internet and Web

Susie Wee

Internet and Web

Ethan Zuckerman

Internet and Web

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