State of the Art in Robotics Worldwide Is Focus of International Meeting Sponsored by American Nuclear Society and Carnegie Mellon

Robotics experts from around the world will gather in Pittsburgh, April 25-29, to hear more than 140 papers on the state of robotics in industry, academia and government research laboratories at the Eighth Bi-Annual International Topical Meeting on Robotics and Remote Systems. The event is sponsored by the American Nuclear Society, Carnegie Mellon University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Technology Center at the Westin William Penn Hotel.

The meeting will highlight the importance of robots to the nuclear power and other industries, as well as their role in the nation's defense nuclear complex. Speakers will describe recent advances in robotic technology, lessons learned from field applications, accomplishments in the later part of the 20th century, such as the Sojourner project on Mars, and offer a preview of the spectacular advances expected in the 21st century, including the cleanup of the nuclear power station at Chernobyl.

William L. "Red" Whittaker, the Fredkin research professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, is honorary chairman of the meeting. Robotics Institute Senior Project Scientist James Osborn, is the technical co-chairman.

Among the highlights of the five-day event is a roundtable on April 26, featuring robotics decision makers from NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Naval Post-Graduate School, Sandia Laboratories Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Command. They will share their views on robotic problems that need to be solved and opportunities to be addressed from the perspective of their organizations. "This represents a unique opportunity to get a broad cross section of the future of robotics from a wide variety of participants in the field," Osborn said.

In a special session which will be open to the public at 8:00 p.m., April 27, Robert Anderson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will give a retrospective discussion of the Sojourner robot's mission on Mars. The public is also invited to visit the exhibition area to view commercially available robotic technologies.

The meeting will conclude with tours of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and Pittsburgh area companies, including RedZone Robotics, a Carnegie Mellon spinoff established after the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island to develop robots for hazardous environments. Some 250 people are expected to attend the meeting.

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