James S. Albus
James Sacra Albus (May 4, 1935 – April 17, 2011) was an American engineer, Senior NIST Fellow and founder and former chief of the Intelligent Systems Division of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Born in Louisville Ky., Albus received the B.S. degree in physics from Wheaton College, Illinois, in 1957 and the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1958. In 1972 he received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.
From 1957 to 1973 Albus worked at NASA starting in 1957 as Physicist-Engineer on Project Vanguard at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC. From 1958 to 1969 he was Physicist-Engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and from 1963 Acting Head of the Video Techniques Section. From 1969 to March 1973 he was head of the Cybernetics and Subsystems Development Section. In the 1960s he was associated with the early Vanguard satellite program and responsible for the optical aspect sensors on seven Goddard satellites, more than ten sounding rockets, and over 15 NASA spacecraft.
From 1973 to 2008 Albus worked at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) which changed its name in 1980 to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). March 1973 to June 1980 he was Project Manager for Sensors and Computer Control Technology, NBS where he developed the Cerebellar Model Arithmetic Computer (CMAC) neural net model. From June 1980 to January 1981 he was leader of the Programmable Automation Group at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) and developed the RCS reference model architecture for the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility. From 1981 to 1996 he was chief of the Robot Systems Division at NIST. Here he founded the Robot Systems Division, hired staff, acquired funding, developed the RoboCrane, and many applications of the RCS architecture for DARPA, NASA, ARL, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Ford, and General Motors. From 1995 to 1998 as Chief, Intelligent Systems Division, NIST he managed a Division of 35 professional scientists and engineers with an $8+ million per year budget. Developed the 4D/RCS architecture for the Army Research Lab (ARL) Demo III Experimental Unmanned Vehicle program. From 1998 to 2008 he was Senior NIST Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Provided technical leadership to the Intelligent Systems Division and served as Principal Investigator for the implementation of intelligent ground vehicle projects funded by the Army and DARPA.
From June 2008 to 2009 he was Senior Fellow, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Provide technical leadership for programs that advance understanding of the computational and representational mechanisms of the human brain. From 2008 to 2011 he worked part-time at Robotic Technology Incorporated (RTI) and Robotic Research, LLC.
He was a member of the editorial board of the Wiley Series on Intelligent Systems serves on the editorial boards of six journals related to intelligent systems and robotics; "Autonomous Robots", "Robotics and Autonomous Systems", "Journal of Robotic Systems", "Intelligent Automation" and "Soft Computing".
In 1962 he received the highest NASA cash award granted to that time for the invention of the Digital Solar Aspect Sensor. In 1984 he was winner of the Joseph F. Engelberger Award for robotics technology. He received numerous other awards for his work in control theory including the NIST Applied Research Award, the Department of Commerce Gold and Silver Medals, the Industrial Research IR-100 award, the Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive, the Jacob Rabinow award, and the Japan Industrial Robot Association R&D Award.
Dr. Albus was notable for his contributions to cerebellar robotics, development of a two-handed manipulator system known as the Robocrane (a crane-like variation on the Stewart platform idea) and for a novel economic concept known as "Peoples' Capitalism". Peoples' Capitalism goes beyond similar ideas of Louis O. Kelso and answers the "how would we live without jobs" question so common in Molecular Nanotechnology discussions.
Albus's vision concerns: a world without poverty, a world of prosperity, a world of opportunity, a world without pollution, a world without war and includes a detailed plan for achievement of same.
Brain theory 
In 1971, he published a new theory of cerebellar function that modified and extended a previous theory published by David Marr in 1969. What is now known as the Marr-Albus theory of the cerebellum is regularly cited in the neuroscience literature. It continues to inspire experimental activity by leading cerebellar neurophysiologists throughout the world. The Albus portion of the Marr-Albus theory has also proven an invaluable inspiration to the fields of neural nets, robotics, and intelligent machine systems.
Neural nets 
Based on his cerebellar model, Albus invented a new type of neural net computer, the Cerebellar Model Articulation Controller (CMAC). CMAC was awarded an IR-100 award from Industrial Research Magazine as one of the 100 most important industrial innovations of the year 1976. Today, CMAC (a.k.a. Cerebellar Model Arithmetic Computer) continues to inspire research in neural networks. It has several significant advantages over more traditional neural net learning algorithms. It is orders of magnitude faster in learning non-linear functions than back-propagation, and is much faster in execution. This makes it particularly useful for applications related to real-time adaptive control. CMAC is the subject of many recent publications in the robotics and neural net literature.
Dr. Albus invented and developed a new generation of robot cranes based on six cables and six winches configured as a Stewart platform. The NIST RoboCrane has the capacity to lift and precisely manipulate heavy loads over large volumes with fine control in all six degrees of freedom. Laboratory RoboCranes have demonstrated the ability to manipulate tools such as saws, grinders, and welding torches, and to lift and precisely position heavy objects such as steel beams and cast iron pipe. In 1992, the RoboCrane was selected by Construction Equipment magazine as one of the 100 most significant new products of the year for construction and related industries. It was also selected by Popular Science magazine for the "Best of What's New" award as one of the 100 top products, technologies, and scientific achievements of 1992.
A version of the RoboCrane has been commercially developed for the Air Force to enable rapid paint stripping, inspection, and repainting of very large military aircraft such as the C-5 Galaxy. RoboCrane is expected to save the Air Force $8 million annually at each of its maintenance facilities. This project was recognized in 2008 by a National Laboratories Award for technology transfer. Potential future applications of the RoboCrane include ship building, construction of high rise buildings, highways, bridges, tunnels, and port facilities; cargo handling, ship-to-ship cargo transfer on the high seas, radioactive and toxic waste clean-up; and underwater applications such as salvage, drilling, cable maintenance, and undersea waste site management.
Real-time Control System 
Albus co-invented the Real-Time Control System (RCS), a reference model architecture that has been used over the past 25 years for a number of intelligent systems including the NBS Automated Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF), the NASA telerobotic servicer, a DARPA Multiple Autonomous Undersea Vehicle project, a nuclear Submarine Operational Automation System, a Post Office General Mail facility, a Bureau of Mines automated mining system, a commercial open architecture machine tool controller, and numerous advanced robotic projects, including the Army Research Lab Demo III Experimental Unmanned Ground vehicle.
During the 1980s, the Albus-Barbera reference model architecture (a.k.a. RCS - for Real-time Control System) provided the fundamental integrating principle of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Automated Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF.) This was an $80 million experimental automated factory-of-the-future. It was co-funded by the U.S. Navy Manufacturing Technology Program and the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). The success of the AMRF was largely responsible for the Congressional Legislation that transformed NBS into NIST.
During the 1990s, Dr. Albus led a team of researchers in developing an open architecture Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC) for intelligent machine tools and next generation inspection systems based on the RCS principles. The EMC was successfully tested and evaluated by shop personnel in a production prototype shop at General Motors Powertrain plant in Flint Michigan. Commercial controllers based on this version of the EMC have been developed and used by industry for water-jet cutters and machining cell controllers. Application Program Interface (API) specifications for open architecture controller standards have been developed in collaboration with an industry consortium consisting of developers, vendors, and users including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Boeing, DOE, NIST, and a number of small companies. EMC software and documentation has also been made available to universities and is currently being incorporated into curriculum for university courses in advanced control systems.
Computational Theory of Mind 
Dr. Albus has extended the 4D/RCS reference model to a Cognitive Architecture for Intelligent Multi-Agent Systems. This extended architecture is designed to enable any level of intelligent behavior, up to and including human levels of performance in driving vehicles and coordinating tactical behaviors between autonomous air, ground, and amphibious vehicle systems. It addresses the fundamental theoretical questions regarding whether computational processes are capable of emulating the functional processes in the brain, and provides a theoretical basis for understanding how the machinery of the brain generates the processes of the mind. Dr. Albus' recent work has led to a biologically plausible model of representation and computation in the human cortex.
Peoples' Capitalism 
Dr. Albus was concerned for many years about the potential social impact of advanced intelligent systems. He was optimistic about the wealth producing capabilities of intelligent machines, but concerned about the elimination of jobs and the downward pressures advanced automation has on human wages and salaries. In 1976, he published a book entitled "Peoples' Capitalism: The Economics of the Robot Revolution". In that book he lays out a plan to broaden capital ownership to the point where every citizen becomes a capitalist with a substantial income from personal ownership of capital assets. He maintained a web site www.PeoplesCapitalism.org  where he outlined a practical plan to achieve a future economic system where income from ownership of capital assets supplements, and eventually supplants, wages and salaries as the primary source of income for the average citizen.
Decade of the Mind 
Dr. Albus conceived of and promoted the idea of a $4 billion 10-year national program to understand the mechanisms of mind. This concept dubbed Decade of the Mind is modeled after the Human Genome project in structure and size.
Decade of the Mind has been formally adopted as a major thrust area by the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies at the George Mason University. Three Decade of the Mind workshops have been held and a fourth is scheduled at Sandia National Labs. The director of the Krasnow Institute has made many contacts on Capitol Hill, and prospects seem good that Decade of the Mind may become a funded program during the next administration.
- 1976. Peoples’ Capitalism: The Economics of the Robot Revolution. New World Books. ISBN 0-917480-01-5
- 1981. Brains, Behavior, and Robotics. Byte/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-000975-9
- 2001. Engineering of Mind: An Introduction to the Science of Intelligent Systems. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-43854-5
- 2001. The RCS Handbook: Tools for Real-Time Control Systems Software Development. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-43565-1
- 2002. Intelligent Systems: Architecture, Design, and Control. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-19374-7
- 2011. Path To A Better World: A Plan for Prosperity, Opportunity, and Economic Justice. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1462035328
See also 
- List of Wheaton College (Illinois) alumni
- Ohio State University Alumni
- List of University of Southern California alumni
- University of Maryland Notable people
- Post-scarcity economy
- Louis O. Kelso
- IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SPACE ELECTRONICS AND TELEMETRY contributors sept 1963. Accessed Aug 2, 2009.
- Biographical Sketch JAMES S. ALBUS. Also see http://www.nist.gov/el/ and see http://www.james-albus.org/docs/CV_10_29_10.pdf. Accessed Aug. 2009 and Nov. 2010.
- CURRICULUM VITAE FOR JAMES S. ALBUS. Also see http://www.nist.gov/el/ and see http://www.james-albus.org/docs/CV_10_29_10.pdf. Accessed Aug. 2009 and Nov. 2010..
- James S. Albus : SEAC and the Start of Image Processing at the National Bureau of Standards A short biography from the NIST virtual museum. Accessed Aug 2, 2009.
- Albus, J.S. (1971). "Theory of Cerebellar Function". In: Mathematical Biosciences, Volume 10, Numbers 1/2, February 1971, pgs. 25-61
- Albus, J.S. (1975). "New Approach to Manipulator Control: The Cerebellar Model Articulation Controller (CMAC)". In: Transactions of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, September 1975, pgs. 220 - 227
- www.PeoplesCapitalism.org. Accessed Aug 4, 2009.
- James S. Albus List of publications from the DBLP Bibliography Server. Accessed Aug 2, 2009.
- Scientific Commons: James Albus. Accessed Aug 2, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: James S. Albus|
- About Peoples' Capitalism
- Peoples' Capitalism Home includes fulltext of the book
- Peoples' Capitalism Home at the Wayback Machine
- Toward a New World with Peoples' Capitalism on YouTube
- Peoples' Capitalism FAQ on YouTube
- Peoples’ Capitalism: A Pathway to Abundance James S. Albus writes in h+ Magazine