06:54 AM

USRA Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is proud to announce the 25th anniversary of its Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS). Since its inception in June, 1983, RIACS has conducted basic and applied research in computer science in support of NASA Ames Research Center in particular and of the nation's aeronautics and space-related programs in general. Work performed by RIACS during this quarter century has produced an impressive number of "firsts" in the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to civil space and aeronautics programs and has resulted in the introduction of significant technological innovations for operational use within NASA. Working with NASA, RIACS has pioneered the development of technologies such as Sparse Distributed Memory (associative memory mimicking human long-term memory), Adaptive Grid Computations (dramatically improves performance by optimizing mappings from computational grids to parallel machines), RemoteAgent (first AI system to fly onboard and control a spacecraft in deep space), AutoClass (first AI software to make a published astronomical discovery), MAPGEN (first AI software to plan the work of robots on another planet), and Clarissa (first spoken-dialog system used in space).

Patented and open source systems pioneered by RIACS have had an impact beyond NASA, including significant impact on the process of software testing, aerodynamic simulations, autonomous vehicles, and collaborative enterprise applications. RIACS has also been a prolific in its contributions to and support of the academic community, publishing more than 1300 papers and technical reports during its 25-year history and hosting more than 230 visiting scientists. RIACS has received more than 20 awards and has more than 80 invention disclosures and patents.

Speaking at the Institute's 25th Anniversary Celebration, held on November 11th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, RIACS Director Dr. David Bell attributed the Institute's success to its exceptional cadre of researchers and scientists. 'They have made tremendous contributions to the coming advances in intelligent systems that are poised to revolutionize the way NASA and other federal agencies accomplish their missions,' said Dr. Bell. 'We look forward to the next 25 years of achievement and to continuing as a valued partner supporting NASA Ames Research Center and the nation's space and aeronautics mission goals.'

'Over the past 25 years RIACS has made a significant number of unique and outstanding contributions both to the field of advanced computing and to our nation's space exploration efforts,' stated USRA CEO and President Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino, 'These contributions reflect the innovative spirit, unmatched expertise and the outstanding work ethic embodied in this Institute. We are proud to celebrate RIACS' many accomplishments and look forward to many more such contributions in the years to come.'

The Universities Space Research Association, established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, is a private, nonprofit consortium of 102 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA's mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.