Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Joins WPI Game Faculty

Worcester Polytechnic Institute announced that computer intelligence pioneer Charles Rich, associate director of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, MA, will join the university's "Interactive Media and Game Development" faculty July 1.

Rich will be appointed to the WPI computer science department. He was a founding member of MERL, which does "application-motivated" basic research in computer and communication technologies. Previously, he co-founded the Programmer's Apprentice project at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, where he worked on intelligent assistants for software engineering.

In his work, Rich has focused on having computers "behave" more like people. His most recent work at MERL explored how to simplify the way people operate household appliances and other devices. To that end, Rich led development of the "DiamondHelp" architecture, in which a large intelligent display is connected through a home network to help people manage multiple devices, such as heating and cooling systems, appliances, and home entertainment systems.
 
Michael Gennert, head of WPI's computer science department, said Rich would bring creative energy to the department. "His presence on the faculty immediately increases the visibility of the IMGD program, the department, and the university," said Gennert. "He is brimming with ideas and has an extensive record of turning those ideas into tangible results. We are indeed fortunate to have him."

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Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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