Maximilian Du

maxjdu at stanford dot edu


Hey there! I am an undergraduate researcher and section leader at Stanford University. I am studying computer science and electrical engineering, and I work in Prof. Chelsea Finn's IRIS lab on reinforcement learning and robotics

My research and project experiences include unsupervised learning, embedded systems, computer vision, and analog electronics.

In my free time, I love to tinker around, take pictures, and write creative non-fiction. Currently, I'm working on a book and an amateur radio license.

Check out all of these things on my website! 

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Research is my primary interest. Currently, I am working in the IRIS Lab under Professor Chelsea Finn on trying to use reinforcement learning on real robots to accomplish tricky tasks, like extracting a mug from a bag or grabbing a block from behind a wall.

Previous research projects have included making an intelligent IoT stove, predicting ultra-short-term wind power, and monitoring respiratory frequency.

Click on the robot video to read more about my work.



For many years, I have taught myself a variety of skills, from bezier curves to meta-learning. Now, I am using these skills to help others. Since Winter of 2021, I have been a Section Leader for Stanford's CS106 programs. I lead weekly small-group workshops and interactive grading sessions

I have led both 106A and 106B class sections, and I will be a course assistant in ENGR40M  and CS107e (tentative) starting 2021-22.

Click on the "Bit" logo to read about the Section Leading program at Stanford



Electronics for me is as much a guilty pleasure as it is a field of study. In the past, I've made an arc-welder, sewage overflow protection system, and musical Tesla Coil.


Currently, I'm working towards a Technician amateur radio license

Click on the welding picture to read about my electronic (and other tinkering) adventures


Part of my role as a researcher is to construct narratives of science. From paper to presentation, I tell stories of my work. I've found that narratives outside of my research are just as appealing, and in telling those stories, I find myself exploring different worlds and talking to very, very interesting people. I specialize in narrative non-fiction and personal essays.


I'm currently working on a non-fiction book about captive killer whales, advised by DCI fellow Melissa Dyrdahl from the Stanford Storytelling Project.

Click on the whale trainer silhouette to read my essays and a book pitch.


For me, photography represents a beautiful tension between capturing the raw moment and crafting the visual masterpiece. I specialize in nature photography and long exposures. My long exposures often include pyrotecnics. 

Click on the fallen leaves to see my portfolio.


Master of the cheap gags, collector of memes, worshipper of the Stanford Clock tower.

Click on the totally-not-photoshopped picture to see my personal gallery, custom t-shirt collection, clock tower article, and more.