PITTSBURGH—Herbert A. Simon Professor of Computer Science Manuela M. Veloso is among five faculty members to be named University Professor — the highest academic accolade a faculty member can achieve at Carnegie Mellon. She joins Carnegie Mellon Provost and Executive Vice President Mark Kamlet, Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology Sheldon Cohen, Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English Jim Daniels, and Mellon College of Science Professor of Mathematics Irene Fonseca in receiving this elite distinction.
The rank of University Professor recognizes a faculty member for representing the intellectual leadership of Carnegie Mellon through their expertise and accomplishments in their respective fields of study.
A researcher in artificial intelligence and robotics, Veloso founded and directs the CORAL research group that investigates autonomous robots and software agents that Collaborate, Observe, Reason, Act and Learn to perform planning, execution and learning tasks.
“Manuela Veloso has been a source of energy and inspiration in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics throughout her career,” said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the School of Computer Science. “She has been especially effective at building teams of students and researchers to create systems that address complex, engineering challenges, such as robots that play soccer or that collaborate with humans.”
Veloso is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on robot soccer, an important research tool for studying how autonomous agents can work cooperatively in complex, uncertain environments. Since 1997, the robot teams she’s fielded with her students have been perennially strong competitors in the championships of the International RoboCup Federation, of which she is a past president.
One of Veloso’s main research areas in recent years has been what she calls symbiotic autonomy, in which intelligent mobile robots are autonomous and aware of their physical, cognitive and perceptual limitations, and proactively address those shortcomings. Her research team explores this concept with their CoBot mobile service robots. The robots autonomously navigate a multi-floor office building to perform errands as requested by people but, without arms, must proactively ask people for help with handling objects and pushing elevator buttons. They also can access the Internet for information they lack and can learn from that access.
Veloso joined the faculty in 1992 after earning her Ph.D. in computer science at Carnegie Mellon. The current president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), she has been honored as an Einstein Chair Professor by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is a fellow of AAAI, IEEE and AAAS. She is a recipient of the Autonomous Agents Research Award from the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence, as well as a National Science Foundation Career Award and the university’s Allen Newell Medal for Excellence in Research.
For more on the other University Professors, view the official press release.