Lynne Parker

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Parker discusses her early life and how she became interested in robotics and artificial intelligence. She also discusses the various projects she has worked on, her main work creating robots that can work with people, where the robot can infer what to do without human command. She also talks about the barriers young women face going into IT fields and what they can do to get into the field and succeed.



Dr. Lynne E. Parker is Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States and Assistant Director of Artificial Intelligence at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She is detailing to OSTP from her position as Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). She previously served as Interim Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering (TCE) at UTK, and before that was the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Engagement in TCE. She also previously served at NSF as Division Director of Information and Intelligent Systems. She spent several years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Distinguished Research and Development Staff Member. She received her PhD in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Parker has been on the UTK faculty since 2002, and is the founder of the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory at UTK, which has conducted research in multi-robot systems, sensor networks, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. She has made significant research contributions in distributed and heterogeneous robot systems, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. Her dissertation research (1994) on ALLIANCE, a distributed architecture for multi-robot cooperation, was the first PhD dissertation worldwide on the topic of multi-robot systems, and is considered a pioneering work in the field. She has published extensively in these areas and has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and service, including the PECASE Award (U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers), the IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award, and many UT Chancellors, College, and Dept awards. Dr. Parker served as the General Chair for the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE RAS Conference Editorial Board, and as Editor of IEEE Transactions on Robotics. She is a Fellow of AAAS, Fellow of IEEE, and a Distinguished Member of ACM.