Hello, I am Bernhard (Ben) Firner. Until the summer of 2023, I worked at NVIDIA as part of a team working on autonomous vehicles at the Bell Works building in Holmdel, NJ. The goal of our project was to train an end to end neural network to drive a car in a human-like manner. NVIDIA's CEO talked about our project near the end of GTC 2016, here There is a nice write-up of the project's history, from 2015 to 2021, in an NVIDIA blog post. There is also an video of a drive from North Carolina to New Jersey, one of several long drives we took once the time between failures of the system meant that we needed to take a vehicle on multi-state drives to properly test it.
My current interests are machine learning, good software engineering practices, and teaching/mentoring. I've learned quite a bit from all of the former Bell Labs people that I've worked with, and I hope to be able to spread a philosophy of rigor and precision that appears to be on the decline in today's world. My hobbies are running and playing the violin.
I finished my PhD in 2014 after studying wireless networks in Rutgers University's WINLAB under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Yanyong Zhang, and Dr. Rich Howard. The final result of my thesis was a wireless protocol that allows small wireless sensors to run for more than 10 years on a coin cell battery. Before joining NVIDIA I worked with a small startup company, Inpoint, to create environmental monitoring systems for the laboratory animal care market, and also taught a variety of computer engineering and computer science courses at Rutgers.
I received my bachelors and masters degrees at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken before working on my PhD at Rutgers. In between going to school I also worked at ITT Avionics as a software engineer for a year and a half.
Take a look at my research page for more about information my research when I was working on my PhD, or if you are are looking for something from one of the informal classes or discussions at WINLAB then check my weblog.