Tomas Lozano-Perez

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Tomas Lozano-Perez discusses his career in robotics focusing on his work at the AI Lab and IBM. Describing his involvement in robotics projects, such as HANDEY, he comments on the evolution and applications of the field, and its future potential and challenges. Additionally, reflects on the developments at MIT, his goals as director, and advice for young people looking to pursue a career in robotics.


Tomas Lozano-Perez was born in Guant√°namo, Cuba on August 21, 1952. Leaving Cuba at the age of ten, he spent a brief time in Miami before moving to Puerto Rico until he started college. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1973, 1976, and 1980, respectively. Between his bachelor's and master's degree he worked in the AI Lab at MIT (1973-1974) working on high-level assembly language and manipulation. Similarly, between his master's and Ph.D., he took a year off to serve on the staff at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center where he worked on AUTOPASS and a graph search algorithm. After completing his Ph.D. at MIT, Lozano-Perez joined the faculty at MIT in 1981. Today he is the School of Engineering Professor of Teach Excellence at MIT and member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. Additionally, he is Associate Director of the AI Lab and Associate Head for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. From 1990 to 1994, he also served as a Senior Staff Fellow at Arris Pharmaceuticals. His research interests include robotics, computer vision, machine learning, medical imaging, and computational chemistry. For his work he has been awarded the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the NSF.