Pittsburgh To Host Press Launch of 20th Century FOX Feature Film "I, ROBOT" Carnegie Mellon To Offer Sneak Preview of New Robot Hall of Fame Inductees

BY Byron Spice - Wed, 2004-06-16 12:00  Printer-friendly version

PITTSBURGH—More than 50 members of the international press will visit Pittsburgh June 16-18 to attend the international press launch of 20th Century FOX's feature film "I, ROBOT." The film is scheduled for release in July.

FOX chose Pittsburgh as a launch site of the film because of The Robot Hall of Fame™ developed in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University and the significant research and development at the university's Robotics Institute.

"In searching for the right site to launch 'I, ROBOT' to the international press, we discovered the Robot Hall of Fame and the robotics exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center," said Hilary Clark, senior vice president, international publicity, 20th Century FOX. "After that, it didn't take long to also discover that Carnegie Mellon University is the force behind the amazing robotics research and activity in the Pittsburgh area. We thought that our guests would enjoy finding out that science is not that far behind science fiction. Pittsburgh is the perfect place to do that."

Carnegie Mellon will make a special announcement regarding the 2004 inductees to the Robot Hall of Fame at a dinner reception hosted by 20th Century FOX on June 17, 2004, at the Carnegie Science Center. The Hall of Fame is located at the Carnegie Science Center.

The Robotics Institute, a division of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies and transfer them to industry to enhance productivity and product quality. Over time, its mission has broadened to include projects that benefit society at large like the Robot Hall of Fame.

Carnegie Mellon will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Robotics Institute October 11-14, 2004. The second annual Robot Hall of Fame induction ceremony will kick off the weeklong celebration on October 11 at the Carnegie Science Center.

The Hall of Fame was created to honor noteworthy robots, both real and fictional, in recognition of the increasing benefits robots are bringing to society. Carnegie Mellon Provost Mark Kamlet and James H. Morris, former dean of the School of Computer Science, announced the creation of the Robot Hall of Fame on April 30, 2003. The first induction ceremony was held November 10, 2003.

The robots honored in this first annual Hall of Fame event included NASA's Mars Pathfinder Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX), better known as "Sojourner"; Unimate, the first industrial robot; R2-D2, the unforgettable droid from the Star Wars movie trilogy; and the evil HAL-9000 computer, featured in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," created by science fiction writer and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick.

"Our goal is to create a permanent, interactive exhibition involving robots that will educate and entertain a wide variety of audiences," said Morris, who conceived the Hall of Fame concept.

Morris put together the original panel of 13 experts, drawn from organizations around the world, to choose the robots to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The jurors choosing robots for the 2004 induction ceremony come from a variety of backgrounds, including technology, science fiction and entertainment. Among them are:

  1. Minoru Asada, professor, Adaptive Machine Systems, Osaka University, Japan
  2. Ruzena Bajcsy, director, CITRIS, University of California, Berkeley
  3. Gordon Bell, director, Microsoft Bay Area Research Center
  4. Randal Bryant, dean, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon
  5. Rodney Brooks, professor, Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  6. Ellsworth Brown, historian and museum administrator
  7. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer and futurist
  8. Henrik Christensen, professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  9. Joanna Haas, director, Carnegie Science Center
  10. Ray Jarvis, director, Intelligent Robotics Research Center, Monash University, Australia
  11. Takeo Kanade, Whitaker university professor, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon
  12. Don Marinelli, co-director, Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon
  13. Illah Nourbakhsh, robotics group lead, NASA/Ames Research Center and assoc. professor, robotics, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon
  14. Raj Reddy, Simon university professor and director, Institute for Software Research International, Carnegie Mellon
  15. Chuck Thorpe, director, Robotics Institute, soon to be dean, Carnegie Mellon Qatar
  16. Sherry Turkle, director, Initiative on Technology and Self, MIT
  17. Steve Wozniak, CEO, Wheels of Zeus and co-founder, Apple, Inc.
  18. Will Wright, creator, Sim City and chief designer, Maxis

Anyone may suggest a robot for the Hall of Fame by accessing the Web site www.robothalloffame.org. Jurors consulted these recommendations as they made their nominations.

To be eligible for the competition, the robots must be scientific or science fiction-oriented. Scientific robots must have served an actual or potentially useful function and demonstrated real skills in accomplishing the purpose for which they were created. Fictional robots should have achieved worldwide fame as fictional characters and helped to form our opinions about the function and value of all robots.

"It's fitting that the Robot Hall of Fame is located here in Pittsburgh, the home of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute," said Robotics Institute Director Chuck Thorpe, who soon will be dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar. "We have been doing research in many areas of robotics for nearly 25 years and have helped to focus attention on this field that has so much potential to help people."

About Carnegie Mellon: The only top 25 university founded in the 20th century, Carnegie Mellon has rapidly evolved into an internationally recognized institution with a distinctive mix of programs in computer science, robotics, engineering, the sciences, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions to solve real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 110-acre campus, Carnegie Mellon is distinctive among research universities because of its conservatory-like programs in its College of Fine Arts.

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