Magazine article AI Magazine

In Memoriam

Magazine article AI Magazine

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

AAAI is sad to report that AAAI Fellow Charles (Chuck) Rich passed away on January 3, 2018 at the age of 66. He served AAAI as an Executive Councilor (1984-87) and as program cochair of the 1998 National Conference on Artificial Intelligence. A professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) since 2007, Rich was a pioneer in AI and human-computer interaction. He was also affiliated with the WPI's Interactive Media and Game Development, Learning Sciences and Technologies, and Robotics Engineering programs, and had previously served as a principal research scientist at MIT and a founding member and distinguished scientist at the Mitsubishi Electronic Research Laboratories (MERL).

Rich joined the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as a research scientist in 1980. At MIT, he founded and directed the Programmer's Apprentice project, which aimed to develop a theory of "how expert programmers analyze, synthesize, modify, explain, specify, verify, and document programs," according to a research overview he coauthored in 1993.

In 1991, Rich joined the staff of MERL, the North American subsidiary of the corporate research and development organization of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Located in Cambridge, MERL conducted research in a wide range of fields within electronics and information technology. Rich and his wife, Candace Sidner, a research professor in computer science at WPI, worked in the area of collaborative agents. Their aim was to develop intelligent agents that could provide a unified conversational interface for all the appliances in a home. As part of that project, Rich and Sidner created a software platform called COLLAGEN, an application-independent collaboration manager. The platform, which has had an important influence on subsequent work in dialogue processing, was used to develop a number of collaborative agents, including DiamondHelp, a finalist in two design competitions in 2005. …

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