Tomás Lozano-Pérez, the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Excellence at MIT has been named IEEE Fellow 2012. Lozano-Pérez, a principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, CSAIL, is cited in this election for "contributions to robot motion planning." The IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation.
Professor Lozano-Pérez's research includes robotics (configuration-space approach to motion planning), computer vision (interpretation-tree approach to object recognition), machine learning (multiple-instance learning), medical imaging (computer-assisted surgery) and computational chemistry (drug activity prediction and protein structure determination from NMR & X-ray data).
Lozano-Pérez has been cited recently (CSAIL news, Dec. 1, 2011 and MIT News Office, May 26, 2011) for his work with colleague EECS Professor Leslie Kaelbling to develop algorithms for motion planning as integral components of advanced robot systems. The now-standard algorithmic framework for attacking this problem is to view it as a search in the robot's "configuration space" (the space of the robot's degrees of motion freedom). The algorithmic foundations for the configuration-space approach to motion planning were introduced by Lozano-Pérez and Wesley in 1977 and further developed by Lozano-Pérez and his students throughout the 1980's. This work attacked a wide variety of problems in robotics, collision-free motions for rigid objects and for robot arms, how to plan for grasps and re-grasps, coordinating multiple robots and notably the problem of planning motions under uncertainty - where the positions of the objects are not known exactly and/or the robot control is inaccurate. Lozano-Pérez's contributions were instrumental in crystallizing a new and still active sub-area of robotics, namely "algorithmic robotics", in which the focus is the design and analysis of algorithms for robot tasks.
Lozano-Pérez has been Associate Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Associate Head for Computer Science of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He spearheaded the rebuilding of the EECS undergraduate curriculum including the now overwhelmingly popular 6.01 and 6.02 introductory classes in EECS.