Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

CCC Robotics Connects with Industry and Government

June 10th, 2008 / in CCC, Research News, robotics, workshop reports / by Andrew McCallum

The CCC-sponsored robotics initiative kicks off next week with the first of four workshops covering the impact, applications and emerging technologies of robotics.

Robotics research and development have already transformed our lives in many ways: they perform nearly all the welding and painting on the cars we drive; they enable telerobotic surgery resulting in more reliable outcomes and faster recovery times; they perform millions of scientific experiments and observations in chemistry, biology and medical labs.  Increasingly robotics is also providing improved control and functionality in people’s daily lives: some new model cars can park themselves or provide advanced distance-keeping cruise control and collision warnings; millions of autonomous vacuum cleaners are in use in homes across the country; educational toys that move and sense are becoming increasingly popular.

With even larger future impact on the way in elder-care, environmental work and professional services, the international competition for leadership in robotics is significant.  Already, Europe, Japan, and other countries have organized strong, coherent, and well-funded robotics research and development initiatives.  The U.S. must also develop strategic and coordinated support for our robotics research community.

In addition to organizing a set of workshops, Henrik Christensen and his colleagues are leading the creation of a National Robotics Leadership Council to provide an ongoing organization for robotics advocacy and leadership.  The two early meetings will coincide with a caucus on robotics being organized by Congress for June 18.

This attention to connecting with governmental and industrial sponsors is exemplary of what the CCC should be enabling.  The physics research community is well known for its effective governmental lobbying; computer science needs to do a better job of building such connections.  While good scientific ideas must of course form the bedrock of our work, in these times, the focus of our argument must be economic—return on investment—a basis on which I think CS can make a very good case.

In my view, no one in the CS research community will see the CCC as a hero for “defining a research agenda”—these things are usually best developed bottom-up, (and besides there already exist many venues for workshops that are research-focused).  The CCC will be a hero if we can help increase funding for CS.  This will involve creative CS researchers coming together with government and industrial leaders, and developing the right scientific and economic arguments to make the case.

I applaud the National Robotics Leadership Council.  I think they are a good example to us all.

Their workshops, topics and dates are:

  • Robotics in Manufacturing and Automation (June 17, DC)
    Organizers: K. Goldberg, V. Kumar, J. Trinkle, H. I. Christensen
  • Healthcare and Medical Robotics (June 19-20, DC)
    Organizers: A. Okamura, M. Mataric & H. I. Christensen
  • Domestic and Professional Service Robotics (August 7-8, San Francisco)
    Organizers: B. Thomasmeyer, O. Brock, H. Christensen
  • Emerging Technologies and Trends (August 14-15, Snowbird, UT)
    Organizers: M. Mason, J. Hollerbach, H. I. Christensen

For more information about these efforts and how to participate see

CCC Robotics Connects with Industry and Government
  • As eldercare coordinator I expect that robotics research and new robotic ideas are very helpful in everyday’s life of disable people.

  • Very interesting and informative topic! Thank you!