RAS and the robotics community lose a Shining Star
Fabrizio Flacco, a tenured research scientist of the French CNRS, suddenly passed away at the age of 34 on 18 September 2016, due to an undiagnosed congenital heart malformation, which burst while jogging with a friend.
Fabrizio took his master degree in Pisa as a student of Antonio Bicchi in 2007, and received his PhD from Sapienza University of Rome in 2011 with a thesis on "Modeling and Control of Robots with Compliant Actuation", with Alessandro De Luca as supervisor. In between, he spent a research period at the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) with Oussama Khatib and his group. After a post-doc at Sapienza, working for the FP7 SAPHARI and the H2020 COMANOID European research projects, he became in December 2015, a Chargé de Recherche of the CNRS at LIRMM in Montpellier, in the IDH group led by Abderrahmane Kheddar.
Dr. Flacco has been an IEEE RAS student member from 2009, and then a member since 2012. He served our community in different ways: he was among the promoters of the workshop series on Human-Friendly Robotics (HFR), a very central event for young researchers in the field, organized several workshops at ICRA and IROS conferences, was one of the Associate Editors in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, and Co-Chair of the RAS Technical Committee on Algorithms for Planning and Control of Robot Motion. For a paper that appeared in the IEEE Transactions on Robotics in June 2015, Fabrizio received just few days before leaving us the 2016 IEEE RAS Italian Chapter Award for Best Paper by a Young Author. The Chapter decided right away to name the award after him (see http://www.i-ras.it/node/129).
A collection of memories and pictures can be accessed at http://homepages.laas.fr/afranchi/robotics/remembering-fabrizio. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family, his wife and two little daughters, from all his friends and colleagues.