The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | Feb 8 2008

Robotics Institute Seminar, Feb 8, 2008
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

The Life and Times of a Geek in Pittsburgh: From Robograd to Entrepreneur in 17 Short Years



Todd Jochem

Group Director, Foster-Miller Inc.


Time and Place


Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305 )

Time: 3:30 to 4:30 pm




In the fall of 1990, my wife and I came to Pittsburgh when I was accepted as part of the 2nd class of RoboGrads. We swore we'd leave the 'Burgh as soon as I was done. Unfortunately, I had never used email, written a C program, or had any idea what convolution filter was, so it was going to take a while. Nearly two decades later, we'd never leave. For this seminar, I'm going to talk about my experiences here during the past 17 years - the people I've met, the projects I've worked on, and the businesses I've started. My hope is that I'll be able to convey a bit of history about where the Robotics Institute has come from, the great people that make this place what it is, and the pathway and process I've chosen since getting my Ph.D. over a decade ago. There will be no equations in this talk, nor will there be any profound theories about the future of robotics, computer science, or the Internet. When you leave, you be thinking one of two things: (a) This guy is really old or (b) my degree from CMU can open up a world of traditional and non-traditional opportunities.


Speaker Biography


Dr. Jochem received his B.S. degree in 1990 from Indiana State University and his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1996. He is currently a Group Director at Foster-Miller, Inc. Foster Miller is a subsidiary of the English multi-national defense firm QinetiQ and is the largest supplier of unmanned ground vehicles to the United States Department of Defense. Before working at Foster-Miller, Dr. Jochem founded or co-founded a number of companies including Applied Perception, Inc., a company devoted to improving unmanned ground vehicle capabilities, and AssistWare Technology, Inc., which helped transition self-driving car technology from the Navlab effort into a commercial lane departure and drowsy driver warning system. Before his business career, Dr. Jochem was a Systems Scientist at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and a 1997 recipient of CMU's Allan Newell Award for Research Excellence.


Speaker Appointments


For appointments, please contact Jean Harpley(

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.