Rodney Brooks - Roboticist

photo of Rodney Brooks



Rodney Brooks is the Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus) at MIT, currently working on his Magnum Opus book--don't hold your breath!

He is a robotics entrepreneur and is currently the CTO and co-founder of Robust AI. Before that he was Founder, Chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics (it ran from September 1st, 2008, through October 3rd, 2018, and was originally called Heartland Robotics). He is also a Founder, former Board Member (1990 - 2011) and former CTO (1990 - 2008) of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT). Dr. Brooks is the former Director (1997 - 2007) of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and then the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received degrees in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1981. He held research positions at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT, and a faculty position at Stanford before joining the faculty of MIT in 1984. He has published many papers in computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, and artificial life.

Dr. Brooks served for many years as a member of the International Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) of National Information and Communication Technology Australia (NICTA), and on the Global Innovation and Technology Advisory Council of John Deere & Co. He was an Xconomist at Xconomy and a regular contributor to the Edge. From June 2014 until May 2020 he was a member of the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, VCAT, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST. Since June 2015 he has been an external member of GE's Robotics Advisory Council. From January 2016 until mid 2019 he was Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Board of Toyota Research Institute. From February 2019 until January 2021 he was "Luminary" at Bell Labs. In the past he has been a member of the external advisory group to LG Electronics.

Dr. Brooks is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a Founding Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the other AAAS), a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and a Foreign Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

He won the Computers and Thought Award at the 1991 IJCAI (International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence). In 2008 he won the IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production. In 2014 he won the Robotics Industry Association's Engelberger Robotics Award for Leadership. He won the 2015 IEEE Robotics and Automation Award. In 2021 he won the Group B NEC C& C Foundation Prize. He won the IEEE Founders Medal in 2023. He received the Computer History Museum Fellow Award in 2023. He was awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Flinders University in 2016, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2017, and a Doctor of the University degree from the Queensland University of Technology, in December 2017.

He has been the Cray lecturer at the University of Minnesota, the Mellon lecturer at Dartmouth College, and the Forsythe lecturer at Stanford University. He was co-founding editor of the International Journal of Computer Vision and is a member of the editorial boards of various journals including Adaptive Behavior, Artificial Life, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Robots and New Generation Computing. He starred as himself in the 1997 Errol Morris movie "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" named for one of his scientific papers, a Sony Classics picture, available on DVD.

NOTE: Rodney Brooks is an emeritus professor at MIT. That means that he is no longer on the regular faculty. He no longer has a research group there, and he no longer has any students. If you want to join MIT as a graduate student you should look at joining CSAIL to see how to apply. Best wishes!

ANOTHER NOTE: No longer writing tenure letters. Rodney Brooks is unable to write tenure letters for junior faculty.

Twitter: @rodneyabrooks Long form essays: two or three per month.