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A Lab Website is Born

Beet with robotic wheels and two robotic arms is smiling and in between two silver, 4-legged robotic ants. Overlayed on top of banner is the text "The Pavlic BEET Lab" and "Bringing Ecology and Engineering Together". Artistic image was AI generated via Adobe Firefly.

The Pavlic lab has been in existence at ASU since 2015, but I’ve (inexcusably!) never gotten around to building a lab website until now (2024!). A lot of this delay came from worrying about optimizing the structure of the site, the platform that the site would be built on, what information to include, and more. In other words, it was analysis paralysis. In all honesty, there was probably a part of me that also wanted to make sure I made it through the tenure process before I felt “worthy” of having a more permanent web presence for the lab. Anyway, the exact reasons for the delay don’t really matter now, because we finally have a website!

A silver lining of this long delay is that I have had a lot of time to really reflect on what connects all of the work that we do in the lab. When I started the lab, I assumed the overarching theme would have something to do with autonomy in both natural and artificial systems. Consequently, I referred to the lab as the Science and Engineering of Autonomous Decision-making Systems (SEADS) Lab. However, I think we do a lot more than that. As reflected in our About and Research pages and the descriptions of our Lab Members and Lab Alumni, the autonomy in our portfolio is also joined by work in augmented intelligence and decision support, systems models for understanding biology, and much more. We certainly have a lot of interest in the lab in collective/swarm intelligence and social insects, but we also focus on information-processing processes that go on within individuals as well as the role of the environment in modulating individual behavior. Furthermore, when I seek out new collaborators and think about whether to take on new students and postdocs, I feel like what is really holding my own research interests together is a desire to bring ecological thinking to engineering and to bring engineering thinking to ecology.

So, with that, we also have a new name! Moving forward, the Pavlic lab will be the BEET Lab, where we are focused on Bringing Ecology and Engineering Together.

Circular logo with a beet wearing headphones and robotic wheels with an orange banner around the outside that reads "Bringing Ecology and Engineering Together" and "THE PAVLIC BEET LAB". Artistic image was AI generated via Adobe Firefly.

I think this broader characterization of the lab’s work is much easier to explain to others and does a better job including all of the work that our members do. And, as a bonus, it lets us refer to lab members as BEETLES – BEET Lab Engineers and Scientists!

So, overall, I’m excited about this new web presence and our new identity moving forward. I’m hoping to populate the blog component of the lab web page with news about the lab as well as posts related to the research that goes on in the lab (and maybe a few other bonus articles that emerge from conversations with lab members, like discussions of processes in academia that might be hidden to many graduate students). So, watch this space! We’ve got the BEET!

Beet with robotic wheels and two robotic arms is smiling and in between two silver, 4-legged robotic ants. Artistic image was AI generated via Adobe Firefly.


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