Professor Anantha Chandrakasan, head of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has announced that Professor Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, has been appointed the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Established in 1999 by Andrew and Erna Viterbi, the chair recognizes significant contributions in the field of communications and signal processing. Professor Ronald Rivest was the first chair holder of the Viterbi Professorship.
Rus, a renowned roboticist, is known for spearheading research in programmable matter and distributed robotics. Her research interests in distributed robotics and mobile computing have led to a range of novel projects in transportation, security, environmental modeling and monitoring, underwater exploration, and agriculture.
She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award and is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002 and is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the IEEE (formerly the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). She serves on the scientific advisory board for the Max Planck Institute, on the editorial board for the Journal of Autonomous Robots, and on the long-term planning board for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.
In his announcement, Prof. Chandrakasan said of Rus, “She is also an outstanding educator and a wonderful mentor to her students.” Rus developed, in collaboration with Professor Seth Teller, two courses for the Robotics Science and Systems sequence (6.141 and 6.142). Two offerings of the advanced course (6.142) resulted in refereed conference publications authored with the class that were nominated as best papers at the premier conferences in robotics, ICRA and IROS. The first paper described a class project on an autonomous greenhouse and the second paper described a class project of assembling Ikea furniture with robots. In the spring of 2013, Rus, Professor Erik Demaine and Chuck Hoberman launched a new course exploring the role of computation in mechanical innovation.
Rus has also devoted significant time to robotics education outside of MIT. As education co-chair of the Robotics and Automation Society, she spearheaded an effort to create an electronic repository of robotics teaching materials with the goal of enabling non-experts in the field to offer undergraduate robotics courses. Through a National Science Foundation Expeditions in Computing Grant, Rus and her research group are currently working on developing accessible and low-cost printable robots that could be designed and used in classrooms around the world.
For more information on Rus’ work, please visit: http://www.csail.mit.edu/user/876.