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Robotics Visionary Takeo Kanade Donates Papers to Carnegie Mellon

Byron SpiceThursday, March 31, 2005

PITTSBURGH-Takeo Kanade, the U.A./Helen Whitaker university professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, has initiated a gift of his papers and memorabilia to the University Archives. Over time, this generous gift will fully document Kanade's career at Carnegie Mellon in the closely intertwined disciplines of computer science, artificial intelligence and robotics.

Kanade, a dynamic researcher and teacher whose current interests include an autonomous air vehicle, the science of computer vision, capturing 3D images as virtualized reality and medical robotics, has taught at Carnegie Mellon for 25 years. He was recruited from the faculty at Kyoto University to Carnegie Mellon in 1980 by Raj Reddy, who was then a professor of computer science and founding director of the Robotics Institute. Succeeding Raj Reddy, he was the director of the Robotics Institute from 1991 to 2001.

Kanade has been the principal investigator of more than a dozen major vision and robotics projects at Carnegie Mellon. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association f or Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), as well as the former and founding editor of International Journal of Computer Vision. Kanade is also founding director of the Digital Human Research Center in Japan's National Institute of Industrial Science and Technology. The goal there is to develop software models that exhibit human functions ranging from anatomy to physiology, from shape to motion and from psychology to cognition. The models will be used for efficient and effective design of everything from home appliances, to shoes and eyeglasses.

The first installment of the Kanade gift, roughly 16 linear feet of papers, includes documents detailing a few of Kanade's innovations in the fields of computer science and robotics, including Origami World, which pioneered 3D vision for computers; laser rangefinder and computer vision software that enables the Mar Rover to map rugged terrain; face recognition programs that use resolution enhancement algorithms to improve surveillance imagery; robots that work in dangerous underwater conditions (and could also be used in space exploration); and autonomous robots that operate vehicles under difficult or changing conditions.

Fulfilling the University Archives' commitment to the Kanade gift, the University Libraries will organize and catalog the Kanade Collection as it is received, in preparation for digitization, which will also be ongoing until the archive is complete. The archival process will preserve the original documents and make them available for hands-on research by scholars. This work will also prepare the papers for digitization, allowing access to the work online in searchable full-text.

Kanade particularly appreciates archival digitization. He says it is an investment that not only enables but encourages communication among researchers, facilitating new ideas and scientific progress.

"Making research available on the Internet expands the tradition of networking among colleagues to include unknown colleagues and future collaborators anywhere in the world," Kanade observed.

Kanade continues his current efforts as a principal investigator of several vision and robotics projects at Carnegie Mellon University. For more on Kanade, see

The Kanade gift augments Carnegie Mellon's existing archives in computer science and artificial intelligence, which include the work of Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon. In addition, the University Archives have recently acquired the papers of Joseph Traub, head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon from 1971to 1979 and founding chairman of the Computer Science Department at Columbia University (1979-89). The University Archives are also preparing to digitize the papers of Nobel Prize winning physicist Clifford G. Shull.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |