Robotics for Instruction


July 18, 2005


C. J. Taylor, Illah R. Nourbakhsh, James Hamblen, and Stewart Tansley


University of Pennsylvania; Carnegie Mellon University; Georgia Tech; Microsoft Research


This brown bag session at the 2005 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit introduces our thoughts on the use of robotics technology for instruction—particularly in the general computer science curriculum at university level. We share some views of our own, some experiences of others that we have come across, present evidence of interest towards greater utilization of robotics in this context, identify some of the open questions and challenges, and highlight our hopes and expectations for this exciting spin on computer science instruction. This informal, provocative, discussion-based session, encouraged participation contribution and lively debate.


C. J. Taylor, Illah R. Nourbakhsh, James Hamblen, and Stewart Tansley

Illah R. Nourbakhsh is Robotics Group Lead at NASA/Ames Research Center. He is also Associate Professor of Robotics in The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, on leave, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. Illah received his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University in 1996. He is co-founder of the Toy Robots Initiative at The Robotics Institute. His current research projects include educational and social robotics, electric wheelchair sensing devices, believable robot personality, visual navigation and robot locomotion. His past research has included protein structure prediction under the GENOME project, software reuse, interleaving planning and execution and planning and scheduling algorithms. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory he was a member of the New Millenium Rapid Prototyping Team for the design of autonomous spacecraft. He is founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, Inc.

Microsoft Research


  • Portrait of Stewart Tansley

    Stewart Tansley