Daniela Rus

Daniela Rus


Daniela Rus is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.  Prior to her appointment as Director, she served as Associate Director of CSAIL from 2008 to 2011, and as the Co-Director of CSAIL’s Center for Robotics from 2005 to 2012. She also leads CSAIL’s Distributed Robotics Laboratory. Rus is the first woman to serve as director of CSAIL, and its predecessors the AI Lab and the Lab for Computer Science.

Rus’ research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter. At CSAIL she has led numerous groundbreaking research projects in the areas of transportation, security, environmental modeling and monitoring, underwater exploration, and agriculture.

Her research group, the Distributed Robotics Lab, has developed modular and self-reconfiguring robots, systems of self-organizing robots, networks of robots and sensors for first-responders, mobile sensor networks, techniques for cooperative underwater robotics, and new technology for desktop robotics. They have built robots that can tend a garden, bake cookies from scratch, cut a birthday cake, fly in swarms without human aid to perform surveillance functions, and dance with humans. Rus is also a champion of youth outreach, spearheading several programs that encourage students to pursue careers in computer science.

Rus is the recipient of the NSF Career Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow.  She is a Class of 2002 MacArthur Fellow and a fellow of AAAI and IEEE. 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.

Rus earned her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. Prior to coming to MIT, Rus was an assistant professor, associate professor, and professor in the Computer Science Department at Dartmouth College.


  • Distributed Motion Planning for 3D MOdular Robots with Unit-Compressible Modules (with Z. Butler), to appear in IJRR 2003 Also in proceedings of WAFR 2003.
  • Networked Robots: Flying Robot Navigation with a Sensor Net (with P. Corke and R. Peterson), in Proceedings of the 2003 International Symposium on Robotics Research.
  • Power Delivery and Locomotion of Untethered Micro-Actuators (with B. Donald, C. Levey, C. McGray, and M. Sinclair), to appear in IEEE JMEMS 2003. Also in Porceedings of ISRR 2003.
  • Distributed Algorithms for Guiding Navigation Across a Sensor Net (with Q. Li and M. deRosa), in Proceedings of Mobicom 2003.
  • Reconfiguration Planning for Heterogeneous Self-reconfiguring Robots (with R. Fitch and Z. Butler), in Proceedings of IROS 2003.


  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Fellow (2017)
  • Robotic Industries Association: Joseph F Engelberger Robotics Award for Education (2017)
  • National Academy of Engineering: Member (2015)
  • IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: Best Paper (2014)
  • Alianta: Gala Award (2014)
  • Association for Computing Machinery: Fellow (2014)
  • EECS: Viterbi Professorship (2013)
  • Internet Hall of Fame: Elected (2013)
  • International Conference on Robotics and Automation: Best Student Paper Finalist (2012)
  • BIOROB: Best Paper Finalist (2012)
  • Robot Film Festival: Best Robot Actor Award (2012)
  • NASA: Software for Public Release Award (2011)
  • Singapore Research: Prof of Autonomous Systems Chair (2011)
  • International Conference on Robotics and Automation: Best Paper Finalist (2011)
  • PRIMA: Best Student Paper (2011)
  • Robotics: Science and Systems: Best Paper Finalist (2010)
  • Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence : Fellow (2009)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Fellow (2009)
  • IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: Best Paper Finalist (2009)
  • IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: Best Paper Finalist (2009)
  • NASA: Software for Public Release Award (2009)
  • International Conference on Robotics and Automation: Best Paper Finalist (2008)
  • SAB: Best Paper Award (2008)
  • Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems: Best paper (2004)
  • MacArthur Foundation: MacArthur Fellows Program (2002)
  • Friedman Family: Fellowship (2002)
  • Sloan Foundation: Research Fellowship (1998)
  • National Science Foundation: Career Award (1996)