LCSR Seminar: Louis Whitcomb “Introduction to the Robot Operating System (ROS)”

November 1, 2017 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Hackerman B17
Ashley Moriarty


This talk and demonstration will give an overview of the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) software ecosystem for robot systems development.  ROS is a modular open-source software system whose core is a publish-subscribe middleware system for C++ and Python under Linux that supports message passing, recording and playback of messages, distributed parameters, and extensive introspection tools. Other open source publish subscribe systems well known to robotics developers include Lightweight Communications and Marshalling (LCM) and the Mission Orientated Operating Suite (MOOS).  In addition to message passing, the ROS ecosystem offers an extensive set of tools and software packages that employ standard message definitions for robotics, a robot geometry library and description language, device interface libraries for numerous COTS devices, localization and navigation packages, three-dimensional visualization with Rviz, and physics-based robot simulation with Gazebo.   ROS is now the most widely used software system for robotics research.   Also see:

If you are unfamiliar with ROS you are encouraged to bring their notebook computers to this seminar so that you can browse in real-time to web pages mentioned in this talk.



Louis L. Whitcomb is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, with secondary appointment in Computer Science, at the Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering.  His research focuses on the navigation, dynamics, and control of robot systems – with applications to robotics in extreme environments including space and underwater robots. He is former (founding) Director of the JHU Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics.  He received teaching awards at Johns Hopkins in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2011, was awarded the NSF Career Award and the ONR Young Investigator Award.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics