Artificial Intelligence Expert Manuela Veloso Receives Carnegie Mellon's Simon Chair in Computer Science

BY Byron Spice - Mon, 2006-05-08 12:00  Printer-friendly version

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso hasbeen named the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Computer Science.

The chaired professorship is named after the late Herbert A. Simon, university professor andNobel Laureate who helped to found the field of artificial intelligence and establish Carnegie Mellon as oneof the foremost computer science institutions in the world. University Professor Raj Reddy held the SimonChair in Computer Science from the time of its creation in 1992 until April 2005, when he was awarded theMozah Bint Nasser Chair of Computer Science and Robotics, a gift from the Qatar Foundation.

"It is especially fitting for Manuela to hold this chair, given her many contributions to the field ofartificial intelligence," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the School of Computer Science.

Veloso's research focuses on the effective construction of teams of intelligent agents that combinecognition, perception, and action to address planning, execution and learning tasks—particularly inuncertain, dynamic and adversarial environments. To illustrate these concepts, Veloso develops teams ofrobot soccer agents that participate in the International RoboCup competitions (www.robocup.org).

"Building successful soccer robots requires solving many hard problems: computer vision, multiagentplanning and locomotion, and she does this in a way that motivates and excites students andspectators," Bryant said.

Veloso and her students have participated in RoboCup since its inception in 1997, competing inthe simulation league, small robot league and the league for Sony's AIBO legged robots. They have beenworld champions several times and have consistently placed among the top teams. Since 2004, she and hercolleagues have investigated a new human-robot soccer game with teams of humans and Segway robots.

Veloso is vice president of the RoboCup Federation. She was the general chair of theinternational RoboCup 2001 in Seattle, the first time the event was held in the United States. Veloso helpedto create and served as general chair of the first RoboCup American Open, which was held at CarnegieMellon in 2003.

In the most recent RoboCup U.S. Open, held last month in Atlanta, her teams brought home fourtrophies. In the AIBO league, the team of mostly undergraduate students was the best of the U.S. entrants,losing only to a team from Germany in a field of eight. In the small robot league, Carnegie Mellon entrantstook honors as the best U.S. team and for first place overall.

Veloso is an alumna of Carnegie Mellon, where she received her doctor's degree in computerscience in 1992. She earned her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in electricaland computer engineering from the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1980 and 1984,respectively.

She is the editor of RoboCup-99: Robot Soccer World Cup III (Springer, 2000), SymbolicVisual Learning (Oxford Press, 1997), Case-Based Reasoning Research and Development (SpringerVerlag, 1995), and the author of Planning and Learning by Analogical Reasoning (Springer Verlag,1994). She has also authored more than 150 technical papers that have been presented at conferences andpublished in journals.

Veloso is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a seniormember of the IEEE and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Veloso served as program co-chair of AAAI-05, the Twentieth National Conference on ArtificialIntelligence, which was held in Pittsburgh. She will be program chair of IJCAI-07, the TwentiethInternational Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, to be held in India in January 2007.

Her honors include a 1995 National Science Foundation Career Award, Carnegie Mellon'sFinmeccanica Chair in 1995 and the university's Allen Newell Medal for Excellence in Research in 1997.

A reception honoring Veloso and her achievements will be held later this year.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice [atsymbol] cs.cmu.edu