Norman A. Whitaker is a Microsoft distinguished scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research Special Projects. As head of that group, he provides a structure for projects with focused objectives aimed at altering and expanding what people imagine is possible with technology.
Previously, Whitaker served as deputy director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Whitaker also served as Deputy Director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office, as Special Assistant to the DARPA director, and as Program Manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge autonomous-vehicle program. He also was centrally involved in planning the 2005 Grand Challenge. Before his work at DARPA, Whitaker was CEO of the Escher Research Institute, which he cofounded in 2003, Chief Technology Officer of Puritan Research, and a Program Manager at DARPA. From 1986 to 1997, he was on the research staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Whitaker received his Bachelor of Science, his Master of Science, and his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the IEEE.