When the International Conference on Machine Learning kicks off in Atlanta in June and pre-eminent scientists from all over the world assemble to discuss the latest in the discipline that tries to teach machines to think like human beings, one of the star attractions is going to be robots that do household chores even before we tell them to. The man who is bringing that ultimate geek’s dream to life is Ashutosh Saxena, an assistant professor in the computer science department of Cornell University. Saxena, whose research interests include machine learning, robotics and computer vision, is treading new paths in the field of robot learning. He has a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, and a master’s and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. During his PhD at Stanford, Saxena developed a now very famous algorithm called Make3D which is used to convert a single photograph into a 3D model. Another of his famous projects includes developing algorithms that enables robots like STAIR, POLAR and Kodiak to do household chores like arranging disorganised houses, loading dishwashers and opening doors for guests. Apart from being featured in such august publications as the Wired magazine and The New York Times, Saxena is the recipient of innumerous awards like National Talent Scholar award in India, Google Faculty award, Sloan Fellowship and Microsoft Faculty Fellowship.