Žiga Kovačič


Project Title: Bridging the Gap: Informing Learned Physical Simulators In Context Human Intuitive Physics 

Project Description: My research project will delve into one part of Moravec’s paradox, a fascinating aspect of artificial intelligence and robotics, observing that contrary to traditional assumptions, machines struggle with tasks that come naturally to humans, such as navigating and understanding spatial dynamics, and imaging possible reactions of a scene. Specifically, inspired by insights from human cognition, my focus is to use intuitive physics processes and imagination to enhance machines’ ability to learn how to re-simulate and comprehend the real world. The ultimate objective is to enable machines to use images and videos to discern physically plausible movements of objects, predict possible future states of their environment, and finally use the former two to re-simulate the possible dynamics of the environment. 

Most Important Accomplishment: I hesitate to rank my accomplishments, as each has contributed to shaping who I am today. That said, getting into Cornell and attending studies overseas has been one of the most transformative experiences on both a personal and academic level. 

Reflections on the College Scholar Program: Throughout my freshman year, I was frustrated by the rigid requirements of colleges at Cornell, as they often hindered students with interests spanning multiple, and sometimes vastly different, disciplines. The College Scholars program allows me to fully pursue my interdisciplinary interest by exploring courses in all the relevant disciplines, without worrying about satisfying arbitrary requirements, and then use the acquired perspectives to pursue a two-year-long research project