Daniel Lee

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Daniel Lee discusses his career in robotics, focusing on his research at Bell Labs and UPenn’s GRASP Lab. Describing his work on machine learning algorithms and in robotics projects, such as the robot dog and the DARPA Urban Challenge, he comments on the challenges of the field and his research. Reflecting on the evolution of the GRASP Lab and of the field of robotics, he comments on its potential and future.


Daniel Lee was born near San Francisco, California. He received a B.A. in Physics from Harvard University in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1995. He served six years in the Theoretical Physics and Biological Computation departments at Bell Labs before joining the UPenn faculty as the UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation of Electrical and Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2001. Lee is also the Director of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, a multidisciplinary research center which brings together computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering for technological development, and co-director of the CMU-Penn University Transporation Center, which focuses on general computational principles in biological systems and development of autonomous systems. Lee's research interests in robotics include computational neuroscience models, sensorimotor systems, machine learning, and intelligent robotic systems. His work has earned him several awards and honors, including IEEE Fellow, the Presidential Early Career Award from the NSF in 2004, the 2006 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and 2008-2011 Evan C. Thompson Term Professor for Distinguished Teaching.