Carnegie Mellon University
Manuela M. Veloso

Smart Moves

CMU alumna and University Professor Manuela M. Veloso infuses humans with her AI fascination, and robots with her AI expertise. 

Manuela M. Veloso’s robots were born from ideas ignited by her scientific curiosity. It was the idea that robots might be able to be fully autonomous and work as a team that led her to create soccer-playing robots — automatons with small wheels or with two or four legs that move alone and kick the ball. And her curiosity about robots moving in building environments eventually led to her development of CoBots, self-directed service robots that interact with humans and can ask for help and learn.

Veloso’s (SCS 1989, 1992) story as an AI innovator and educator started more than 30 years ago after her first visit to Carnegie Mellon when she was evaluating doctoral programs. She says: “I’m completely a product of Carnegie Mellon. It’s almost as if I came here like a raw piece of marble that was open to being shaped by CMU’s giants of AI, the late Allen Newell and Herb Simon, and my Ph.D. advisor, Jaime Carbonell.”

Today, as a globally renowned researcher, international expert in artificial intelligence and robotics, and highly respected mentor of 35 graduated Ph.D. students, Veloso is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor and head of the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science (SCS).

Veloso is driven to create fully autonomous robots that can seamlessly integrate perception, cognition and action to solve problems, collaborate and learn.

“At Carnegie Mellon, I’ve always felt tremendous support for the novel research that I wanted to pursue,” she says. “I believe there is no better place in the world to do AI research than here.”