Andrew Dobson


The focus of my research has been on providing sparse representations of continuous spaces which have theoretical guarantees about path quality through this structure. Specifically, my work expands upon Probabilistic Roadmap Methods using inspiration from Graph Spanner literature to provide small roadmaps which are quick to query. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide an efficient roadmap implementation which can be stopped at any finite iteration and be able to return confidence bounds on solution existence for given path-quality guarantees.

My work is also based on many recent developments in sampling-based motion planning. Specifically, the notion of asymptotic optimality, which states that there are conditions under which graph structures converge to optimal solutions in configuration spaces. Using inspiration from the graph spanner literature, my approach extends previous methods to guarantee asymptotic near-optimality, providing structures which return paths within a bound of the true optimal, while remaining much more sparse.

I am also one of the primary developers for the PRACSYS software, our common platform for doing physically-based simulation for autonomous agents, especially for networks of robots.

Selected Publications

You can also access the complete list of publications here.


  • Dept. of Homeland Security Center of Excellence CCICADA Fellowship Awardee.
  • Invited paper to IJRR 2013 "Sparse Roadmap Spanners"
  • UNR Reed Graduate Student Scholarship 2010 ($9,000).
  • Nevada Undergraduate Research Grant (GURA) 2008 Awardee.
  • University of Nevada College of Engineering Undergraduate Dean’s List.

Teaching Experience

Past Courses

TA: CS344: Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms (Spring 2013)
TA: CS206: Introduction to Discrete Structures II (Fall 2012)


I graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010 with my Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and in 2012 with my Masters of Science in Computer Science. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student at Rutgers University. I enjoy playing and designing video games, given I have the time. I tend to prefer the theoretical to the actual.

Contact Information

Email : chuples.dobson\AT\
Phone : (775) 247-8963