Daniela L. Rus
|Daniela L. Rus|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
|Notable awards||ACM Fellow (2014)|
Daniela L. Rus is the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She is currently the Director of MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and Head of its Distributed Robotics Lab.
Prof. Rus’ research interests include robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter. She is known for her work on self-reconfiguring robots, shape-shifting machines that have the ability to adapt to different environments by altering their internal geometric structure. They do this on their own, without remote control, for locomotion, manipulation, or sensing purposes. She has shown that these self-reconfigurable machines could be used in many situations where the possible obstacles and constraints on movement could not ever be fully anticipated in preprogrammed control software (e.g., deep sea or planetary exploration).
Rus's research is focused on developing the science of networked/distributed/collaborative robotics. Simply put, her research answers the question: how can many machines collaborate to achieve a common goal? Distributed networked robot systems consist of multiple robots that are connected by communication. In these systems the robots interact locally with the environment. The objective is for the system as a whole to have guaranteed global behavior. Distributed robotics is an important area of robotics as it addresses how collections of robots can collaborate to achieve a larger task than each individual robot is capable of doing. Rus was the first to put this area on a firm algorithmic footing. Her research addresses the development of algorithms that (1) enable collaboration; (2) couple tightly communication, control, and perception; (3) are scalable and generally independent on the number of units in the system; (4) have provable guarantees. An important theme in this work is self-organization: the study of computational processes that interact with each other and with the physical world by means of perception, communication, and change to achieve system reconfiguration in response to the task requirements and the environment.
At MIT CSAIL, she heads the Distributed Robotics Lab which conducts research on modular and self-reconfiguring robots, distributed algorithms and systems of self-organizing robots, networks of robots and sensors for first-responders, mobile sensor networks, cooperative underwater robotics, and desktop robotics. Her lab has created robots that can mimic a variety of human-like actions like tending a garden, dancing, baking cookies from scratch, cutting birthday cakes, among other behaviors. They can also fly in swarms without human aid to perform surveillance functions. She has led numerous groundbreaking research projects in the areas of multi-robot systems and in applications to transportation, security, environmental modeling and monitoring, underwater exploration, and agriculture.
At Dartmouth College's Computer Science Department, where she was a professor, Rus founded and directed the Dartmouth Robotics Laboratory.
For a complete list of 192 peer-reviewed publications, that span from 1996 to 2014, refer to:
Honors and Awards
- NAE Member (2015) for contributions to distributed robotic systems.
- ACM Fellow (2014) for contributions to robotics and sensor networks. 
- IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics: Best Paper Award (2014)
- IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: Best Paper Award (2014)
- Robotics Systems and Science: Best paper Award (2014)
- Cambridge Science Festival: Curiosity Award (2014)
- AFRON Robotics Challenge: 1st place in the hardware and curriculum competition (2013)
- MIT EECS: Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professorship (2013)
- Robot Film Festival: Best Robot Actor Award (2012)
- International Conference on Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems: Best Student Paper (2011)
- Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence : Fellow (2009)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Fellow (2009)
- Simulation of Adaptive Behavior Conference: Best Paper Award (2008)
- ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems: Best paper (2004)
- MacArthur Foundation: MacArthur Fellows Program (2002)
- Sloan Foundation: Research Fellowship (1998)
- National Science Foundation: Career Award (1996)