Thomas Howard joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an assistant professor in January 2015. He is also a member of the Institute for Data Science and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Before joining the faculty here at Rochester, Dr. Howard was a research scientist at the MITComputer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Robust Robotics Group. Previously he was a research technologist at JPL in the Mobility and Robotic Systems section and a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Caltech. Dr. Howard earned a PhD in Robotics from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009 in addition to BS degrees in electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester in 2004.
Dr. Howard’s research interests span artificial intelligence, robotics, and human-robot interaction. His research focuses on improving the optimality, efficiency, and fidelity of models for decision making in complex and unstructured environments with applications to robot motion planning and natural language understanding. He has applied his research on numerous robots including planetary rovers, autonomous automobiles, mobile manipulators, robotic torsos, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Dr. Howard was a member of the flight software team for the Mars Science Laboratory, the motion planning lead for the JPL/CaltechDARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation team, and a member of Tartan Racing, winner of the DARPA Urban Challenge.