Carnegie Mellon University

Mayor Bill Peduto gives Andrew Moore and Red Whittaker keys to the city.

November 17, 2021

Red Whittaker, Andrew Moore Receive Keys to the City From Pittsburgh Mayor

By Aaron Aupperlee

Aaron Aupperlee
  • School of Computer Science

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto presented keys to the city to Carnegie Mellon University's Red Whittaker and Andrew Moore, calling the two "leaders of the fourth industrial revolution."

Peduto, who will leave office at the end of the year after serving two terms as mayor and a career in city hall, said it has been an honor to work with Whittaker and Moore throughout much of the 2000s as Pittsburgh emerged as a hotbed of tech talent and grew its economy around robotics, autonomy, computer science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The mayor described Whittaker and Moore as humble men who love Pittsburgh and chose to stay in the city to train top-level scientists and develop transformative technologies.

"They created. They created new ideas. They created new industries that not only changed Pittsburgh but changed the world," Peduto said. "They changed Pittsburgh beyond its economy and brought it back to the world stage."

Whittaker, the Founders University Research Professor in CMU's Robotics Institute, pioneered field robotics, designing systems for autonomous driving, the cleanup of nuclear sites and space exploration. He led the Tartan Racing program during the DARPA Grand Challenges of the early 2000s and won the 2007 Urban Grand Challenge — establishing CMU as a center for autonomy and self-driving vehicles.

Moore, the head of Google Cloud AI, is both a former dean of and professor in CMU's School of Computer Science. While he was a professor, Google recruited Moore to start the company's Pittsburgh office. He later returned to CMU to serve as the SCS dean before rejoining Google in 2019.

Moore said what is happening in Pittsburgh right now is a tribute to the spirit of the city built over the last 200 years. He said he is lucky to have spent his career in the city and looks forward to spending many more years here.

"There's something unique here about a city of people who want to build stuff, are optimistic about the future, and who, when they get together, talk about the problems of the world and what we can do about them," Moore said.

Whittaker said he "tripped on a grand future" when he came to Pittsburgh five decades ago. He said his work at CMU began as a vision with no guarantees it would turn into anything.

"It's really a testimonial to the town, to the university, and to the region that it actually turned into something that dented the world," Whittaker said. "My view is that it has only begun and that the future is very, very bright."

Peduto has given out about a dozen keys to the city — the highest civilian honor the mayor can bestow — during his tenure.

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