Michael Arbib

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Arbib discusses his interdisciplinary career in theoretical neuroscience and computer science, and the influence of the field of robotics. He reflects on the evolution of the field, as well as the future challenges it may face. Additionally, he provides advice to young people interested in robotics.


Michael Arbib was born in England in 1940 and lived there until the age of seven when he moved to New Zealand. When he was nine he moved to Sydney, Australia where he completed secondary education and achieved his undergraduate degree in Pure Mathematics from the University of Sydney in 1960. He continued on to earn his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963. After studying briefly with Rudolf Kalman, Arbib spent five years as an assistant professor at Stanford University; at which point he became the founding chairman of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. He continued in the department until he joined the University of Southern California in 1986. He currently serves as the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, as well as a Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology.