2021 Galois Balloween Workshop

The Galois Balloween workshop brings together a diverse group of autonomy and cyber-physical systems researchers to explore building a next-generation, high endurance, autonomous, lighter-than-air vehicle. Why a blimp or balloon? Good question. Because blimps:

  • are not a quadcopter and focus on endurance over speed/maneuverability.
  • provide an excellent platform to research problems in persistent autonomy 
  • are energy constrained, that require innovative control and planning strategies
  • need to operate safely and efficiently with large environmental disturbances
  • are challenging to control due to non-linear and time delayed dynamics
  • are slow, non-agile platform and can tolerate slower computation speeds and delays
  • are relaxing to watch.

The workshop’s goal is to understand the state of the art, from a new perspective, and ask the question: How would we design the coolest autonomous blimp that the research community can build?

Workshop Structure

The workshop is structured as two half-day events, held on Wednesday 10/27, and Thursday 10/28, between 9 AM and 1 PM PST. Each day will be broken up into:

  • A keynote talk, to kick things off.
  • A series of 15 minute lightning talks on each participant’s research area, and its application to blimps and balloons.
  • Hour-long interludes to discuss what we have learned.

We encourage participants to attend both days, but we get it: life is busy.


The outcome of this workshop will be a white paper that summarizes the current state of the art in autonomy and cyber-physical systems as applied to lighter-than-air vehicles. We will describe what we have learned through the talks and discussions, and point out gaps in the current research landscape. The Galois organizers will edit this white paper, include all the workshop participants as co-authors, and be provided to the world via Galois’s website.

About Galois 

Galois is a computer science R&D company that develops technology to guarantee the trustworthiness of systems where failure is unacceptable. We apply cutting-edge computer science and mathematics to advance the state of the art in software and hardware trustworthiness, including developing methodologies for design, development, testing, and runtime assurance of safety-critical cyber-physical systems. We are an employee-owned company of 130 people, with offices in Portland, OR, Arlington, VA, and Dayton, OH. Since our founding in 1999, we have worked with a variety of clients across government and industry, including DARPA, ONR, AFRL, DHS and Amazon. To learn more about all our research areas, 2020 Year in Review provides a great snapshot of what we were up to in 2020. We often organize conferences and workshops similar to the 2021 Galois Summer School for Trustworthy Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science held virtually on Monday, June 28th. We have a very different organizational structure called the Collaborative Web, and you can read/watch more about how we work on Life at Galois. 

Attending the workshop

To register for the workshop, please fill out this short form by September 30

Quick note: This is an invite-only event. If you cannot make it but have a recommendation of someone you think would be interested in attending, please let us know by emailing Julie Nelson at julie@galois.com.