Raj Reddy’s contributions to artificial intelligence cannot be overstated. As founding director of the Robotics Institute and a former dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, he oversaw revolutionary developments in autonomous driving, computer vision and speech recognition (where he was personally a pioneer). The Raj Reddy Fund for Artificial Intelligence celebrates Raj’s devotion to CMU, the School of Computer Science and AI in general.
Established in 2018, the Raj Reddy Fund for Artificial Intelligence supports research and education in artificial intelligence (AI) and related areas in the School of Computer Science. When you contribute to the Raj Reddy AI Fund, you acknowledge and celebrate the lasting impact Raj has made on the field. At the same time, you invest in the students, faculty and research that will change how humans and technology interact for generations to come.
Raj Reddy is the Moza Bint Nasser University Professor of Computer Science and Robotics at CMU, where he has held various academic and leadership positions since 1969. He helped create the university’s Robotics Institute, and served as its founding director from 1979 until 1991, when he was named dean of SCS. Under his leadership, the school grew to include the Language Technologies Institute, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery (now the Machine Learning Department), and the Institute for Software Research.
While Raj has contributed great leadership to SCS, his research has changed the way we interact with technology. Over a span of three decades, he and his colleagues created spoken language recognition systems, developing many of the ideas that underlie modern commercial speech recognition products. He has also made seminal contributions to other areas of artificial intelligence and computer science, including task-oriented architectures, analysis of natural scenes and autonomous robotic systems.
Raj has earned numerous awards throughout his career, including the 1994 ACM Turing Award — the highest honor in computer science — for his contributions to AI. He served as co-chair of President Clinton’s Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1999 to 2001. In 2006, he received the Vannevar Bush Award, the National Science Foundation’s highest award, for “lifetime contributions to science and long-standing statesmanship in science and on behalf of the nation.” Raj also received France’s Legion of Honor in 1984, India’s Padma Bhushan in 2001, the Okawa Prize in 2004, and Japan’s Honda Prize in 2005. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He helped found the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and served as its president from 1987 to 1989.
What the Fund Will Do
At its heart, the Raj Reddy AI Fund promotes the School of Computer Science’s research and education efforts in AI and related areas. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Supporting faculty. Proceeds from the fund will underwrite the sort of innovative research programs synonymous with Raj’s work. Eventually, as it reaches a certain point, the fund will support early career and/or full professorships in SCS.
- Helping students. Contributions to the fund will provide much needed fellowship and scholarship resources for students at all levels.
- Creating the Raj Reddy AI Lecture. This new lecture series, supported by the fund, will occur every two years and feature leaders in AI research and technology from CMU and other institutions. The series will further the important work happening in this pervasive area.