PITTSBURGH—Matthew T. Mason, professor of computer science and robotics and a world-renowned expert in robotic manipulation, has been named director of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in the School of Computer Science (SCS), effective July 1, 2004. He succeeds Chuck Thorpe, who is moving on to become dean of Carnegie Mellon's campus in Doha, Qatar.
A native of Oklahoma City, Mason earned his bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, 1978 and 1982, respectively. He joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1982. Until his new appointment, he was chairman of the robotics doctoral program.
Mason's most recent research project is an origami-folding robot, developed in collaboration with his student Devin Balkcom. Prior to that, his primary interest has been "desktop robotics," developing concepts and technology to enable robots to rearrange the objects on a typical desktop.
Mason is co-director of the Robotics Institute's Manipulation Laboratory and the author of "The Mechanics of Robotic Manipulation" (MIT Press, August 2001), a textbook on robotic manipulation. He is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
"Matt brings to the position a strong reputation both within the Robotics Institute and throughout the world," said SCS Dean Randal E. Bryant, who announced Mason's appointment. "He's been with the Robotics Institute for more than 20 years. During that time, he's made many contributions to robotic manipulation, including writing the leading textbook on the subject. He also has done much to build up the institute. As director of the robotics doctoral program, he has worked with both students and faculty to develop a unique and world-class program."
Mason lives in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh with his wife, Mary. The couple has two children: a son, Timm, who is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon's computer science undergraduate program, and a teenage daughter, Kate.