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April 13: Robotics Institute Celebrates 30th Anniversary And First National Robotics Week, April 15-16


Byron Spice

Robotics Institute Celebrates 30th Anniversary
And First National Robotics Week, April 15-16

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its pioneering Robotics Institute and commemorate the first National Robotics Week with special exhibits, lectures and demonstrations April 15-16 in conjunction with the university's annual Spring Carnival.

The Robotics Institute, founded in 1979, is the world's largest robotics research and education center with about 350 full- and part-time employees and a $55 million annual research budget. National Robotics Week, April 10-18, is aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of robotic technology and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.

Adrien Treuille, assistant professor of computer science and robotics, will discuss "Next-Generation Interactive Simulation" as he presents the Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 15 in the Rashid Auditorium, room 4401 of the Gates and Hillman centers on the Carnegie Mellon campus. Treuille, recognized last year by Technology Review magazine as one of the world's top 35 innovators under the age of 35, specializes in developing real-time computer simulation techniques, including the Emmy-nominated Draft Track effect for NASCAR broadcasts and the Foldit online game to help scientists solve the protein-folding problem.

At noon Friday, the School of Computer Science will host the 16th annual Mobot (Mobile Robot) Races, a slalom race for small, autonomous robots on the campus mall in front of Wean Hall. Teams of students, alumni and other people associated with the university will vie for cash prizes, including $1,000 for first place.

Matt Mason, director of the Robotics Institute, will present the Robot 30 lecture at the Mobot awards ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Rashid Auditorium. Mason will review the history of the institute and the advances that have occurred in robotics technology since its founding by professors Raj Reddy and Angel Jordan, and Tom Murrin, then a Westinghouse Electric Corp. executive.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, the Robotics Institute's ChargeCar electric vehicle conversion project will display its electric test bed vehicle on the campus lawn between the University Center and the Purnell Center for the Arts. From 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, researchers will be displaying and demonstrating more than a dozen robots in the Planetary Robotics Center high bay on the first floor of the Gates and Hillman centers.

"During National Robotics Week, we are asking people to 'experience the possibilities' that come from using robotics technology in everyday life," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pittsburgh, who sponsored the House resolution establishing the week-long event along with other members of the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. "From schools to the workplace to healthcare, robotics will play a huge role in making life easier for everyone and will be a significant area of job growth and development in the decades ahead."

For more information on National Robotics Week, visit the Web at

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