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Press Release

Cindy Carroll
Sharon Stillwagon

For immediate release:
March 30, 2005

Takeo Kanade Gives Papers to Carnegie Mellon

Robotics professor acknowledges experience and makes room for new research

Takeo Kanade
PITTSBURGH—Takeo Kanade, U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor, Robotics Institute, has initiated a gift to the Carnegie Mellon University Archives of his papers and memorabilia. Over time, this generous gift will fully document Kanade's career at the university 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, medical robotics and 3D images captured as virtualized reality, is characteristically modest about the gift. "Look at this—I was so thorough," he laughed as University Archivist Jennie Benford packed up files at his office.

However, Kanade understands the value of preserving a body of work and enabling students, teachers and other researchers to pore over it. "If they know what you thought and did, if they can get a hint, a glimpse into the process—who knows what they may see and what may come of it?"

The first installment of the Kanade gift, roughly 16 linear feet of papers, includes work that created 3D computer visioning (Origami World), Mars Rover mapping capabilities, computer-enhanced face recognition, underwater robots, autonomous driving robots and much more. Eyes twinkling, Kanade said, "Giving these files to the archives motivates me to work even harder, knowing that my notes, papers and models—those that worked and those that didn't work so well—will be preserved as history and as a reference point for future research."

Fulfilling the University Archives' commitment to the Kanade gift, the University Libraries will organize and catalog the Kanade Collection as it is received until the archive is complete. The archival process will preserve the original documents and make them available for hands-on research by scholars. The process is also a preliminary for digitization, which will enable access to the collection 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 is in the "business of creating new knowledge," and his vision for the donated papers is an active one. He hopes that his materials will illuminate a "thought process" and stimulate additional research. Since his days as a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon (1977-79), Kanade has developed, altered and modified many research methods, approaches and theories.

Based on experience, he passes on the secrets of good research to his students today, advising, for instance, "Think like an amateur; execute as an expert." Wisdom gained from experience illustrates that history has important lessons for the present. The archival process, especially digitization, increases scholars' access to specialized history and information and, Kanade says, provides "necessary perspectives for future thinking."

And regarding personal benefit? "If nothing else," Kanade smiles, "I now have additional motivation to make my work better so the archives will be more interesting." He continues his current efforts as a principal investigator of several vision and robotics projects at Carnegie Mellon. 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 famed computer scientist Allen Newell, who used computer simulation as a research tool to understand the human mind, and Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon, who received the prize for his work in economics. Simon and Newell helped to found the fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. In addition, the University Archives have recently acquired the papers of Joseph Traub, former head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon (1971-79) 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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