Carnegie Mellon Prepares To Celebrate 25th Anniversary of its Robotics Institute

BY Byron Spice - Fri, 2004-08-27 12:00  Printer-friendly version

Carnegie Mellon Prepares To Celebrate 25th Anniversary of its Robotics Institute

PITTSBURGH--Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its world-famous Robotics Institute with an exciting, thought-provoking, robotics extravaganza that will take place October 11-14, 2004. The four-day event will include something for the research, educational and business communities, as well as for all the people who find robots a continuing source of fascination and entertainment.

The celebration, built around the theme "Robots and Thought," will begin the evening of Oct. 11 with the second annual induction to Carnegie Mellon's Robot Hall of Fame, where five outstanding robots and their creators will be honored.

On Oct. 12, a series of seminars will focus on how robotics intersects with and enhances business, education and arts. On Oct. 13, an international symposium on the grand challenges facing the field of robotics will feature a roster of experts from around the world. Oct. 14 will be filled with tours and demonstrations of leading-edge robots developed by Carnegie Mellon researchers, both at the institute on the Carnegie Mellon campus and at the more application-focused National Robotics Engineering Consortium in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. The celebration will culminate on the evening of Oct. 14 with a concert by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, NASA's first artist in residence who incorporates robotics and leading-edge technology into her art and concerts.

"The Robotics Institute was founded 25 years ago on the vision of three gifted men and a $3 million gift from Westinghouse Electric Corp.," noted Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon. "Today the institute is a $50 million enterprise with some 300 faculty, students and staff working on more than 100 projects. Robotics Institute research breakthroughs are changing the fields of agriculture, medicine, mining, transportation, space exploration and national security, to name just a few. Our work has furthered the goals of government agencies, including NASA, DARPA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. Companies from around the world work with us, learning how to use robotics to solve problems, develop new products and open new fields of commercial endeavor. Companies, government agencies and universities also come to recruit the outstanding potential employees produced in our unique master's and doctoral programs in robotics."

"During the past 25 years, robotics has changed the way we live, think and work," added Matthew T. Mason, director of the Robotics Institute and a 28-year veteran in the field of robotics. "The growth of the field is increasing automation on the factory floor, enhancing the safety of vehicles on the highways, enabling unmanned space exploration and helping to make surgical procedures more exact. Robotics has the potential to rejuvenate science education by bringing hands-on excitement and teamwork in solving problems to the K-12 classroom as well as on the university level, and we're just at the beginning."

"The Robotics Institute 25th-anniversary celebration will lay out the 'grand challenges' that remain before us and refocus our attention on the hurdles we must overcome to achieve our dream of a new age of thinking robots to serve the needs of society," said David A. Bourne, Robotics Institute principal systems scientist and chairman of the 25th-anniversary celebration. "It is unique because it will demand that every participant also consider how the dawning age of robotics will impact humanity."

Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. Work at the institute focuses on nano-machines, custom manufacturing, computer vision, autonomous mobile robots that attempt to seek life in the desert, inspect abandoned coal mines, harvest crops, defend our troops, find meteorites in Antarctica or race more than 100 miles across desolate terrain. Institute researchers have developed learning robots that socialize with people and others that play soccer. Researchers have made strides in medical robotics, design, intelligent interfaces, planning, scheduling, rapid manufacturing and shape deposition, all based on robotic technologies.

A division of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, the institute was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies and transfer them to industry. Over time its mission has broadened to include projects that benefit society at large. In 1994 Carnegie Mellon received a grant from NASA to establish the National Robotics Engineering Consortium to commercialize mobile robot technologies that NASA has developed by working directly with American industry.

As the field of robotics has expanded, so has the need for trained scientists to advance and implement new robotics systems. The institute created the world's first robotics doctoral program in 1989 and has offered a master's program since 1998.

See www.ri25.org for more information on the Robotics Institute 25th-anniversary celebration.
See www.ri.cmu.edu for more information on the Robotics Institute.
See www.rec.ri.cmu.edu for more information on the Robotics Engineering Consortium.
See www.robothalloffame.org for more information on the Robot Hall of Fame.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice [atsymbol] cs ~replace-with-a-dot~ cmu ~replace-with-a-dot~ edu