IRIM Executive Director Candidate Talk—Seth Hutchinson

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The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines present “IRIM in the Coming Robotics Era” by Seth Hutchinson. The event will be held in the Callaway GTMI Building, Room 114 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and is open to all members of the Georgia Tech campus community.


When Georgia Tech launched the Robotics & Intelligent Machines Center, there were only a few university-based robotics research centers and very few companies in the robotics business.  Since those early days, Georgia Tech has established itself as one of the premier institutions for robotics research, IRIM has assumed its present status as an Interdisciplinary Research Institute -- and the field of robotics has exploded.  IRIM now finds itself in the midst of a fiercely competitive robotics landscape.  Universities are offering specialized degrees in robotics, typically hosted by interdisciplinary robotics institutes; established companies are investing in robotics applications, from service robots to self-driving cars; start-ups are engaging the entire spectrum of robotics problems, from actuation to intelligence; national and international government-sponsored initiatives are underway in Asia and Europe, jump-starting their robotics economies in areas ranging from routine factory automation to long-term societal needs. In short, while IRIM has never been stronger, neither has it ever faced such intense competition.

In this talk I will describe my view of IRIM’s place in this landscape, the challenges that lie ahead, and how to best leverage our strengths to secure our place as a world leader in the new robotics era.  In this context, my vision for the future of IRIM includes building strong interdisciplinary research communities on campus, fostering deeper connections with GTRI researchers, strengthening and expanding our ties to industry, securing significant government funding for major projects, placing our graduates in the top positions in in both academe and industry, and generally earning recognition as the intellectual leader in robotics research.  All of these are well within our grasp, but effective leadership is key to motivating the grassroots engagement necessary for these efforts to succeed within our university environment.


Seth Hutchinson is Professor and KUKA Chair for Robotics in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. His research in robotics spans the areas of planning, sensing, and control. He has published more than 200 papers on these topics, and is coauthor of the books "Principles of Robot Motion: Theory, Algorithms, and Implementations," published by MIT Press, and "Robot Modeling and Control," published by Wiley. His work has received more than 23,000 citations.

Hutchinson currently serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Robotics Research and chairs the steering committee of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. He was Founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's Conference Editorial Board (2006-2008) and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transaction on Robotics (2008-2013).

Hutchinson is an Emeritus Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was Professor until 2018, serving as Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs from 2001 to 2007. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1988. Hutchinson is a Fellow of the IEEE.




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