Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Susan Imberman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are only part of the curriculum that the Computer Science Department at the College of Staten Island offers. Students taking "Intro to Computer Science" are given the opportunity to program their own pre-built robots, then sit back, and watch the robots perform. Professor Susan Imberman has been with the College of Staten Island for over nine years and has helped make CSI's Robotics' collection what it is today. The student Intelligent Robotics Lab contains various types of robotic equipment including LEGO Ò Handyboard robots, LEGO Ò Mindstorm RCX Brick robots, and a Sony AIBO (a pup-bot). She describes the lab as being a "rare and unique student lab" where students have the opportunity to learn, experiment, and create their own intelligent robots.
The robot lab has been at CSI for about eight years; it was created through Department funding and Center for Excellence in Learning Technology (C.E.L.T.) mini-grants, and is a model for other schools. The robotics lab allows students to build their own robots, program them with intelligence using techniques such as neural networks and decision trees, and then see the robots perform these programmed actions; without the use of remote controls. After being programmed, the robots can actually learn new behaviors, on their own!.
The CSI Computer Club is also involved with robots, and anyone can feel free to join or stop by at one of their meetings and possibly get a glimpse of their ongoing project, " Robotic Soccer."
Professor Imberman is also an expert in the field of data mining, currently working on a research project with Dr. Irene Ludwig at the Louisiana State Medical Center, analyzing medical information and trying to determine whether or not patients, who have "accommodative esotropia," are good candidates for surgery.
Data Mining uses Artificial Intelligence, among other methods, to analyze data and information that may be too overwhelming or time-consuming for a person to do. Instead, programs are created that allow the computer to look for specific patterns in the data and analyze them. Data mining involves transforming huge amounts of information into usable data.
In the future the Intelligent Robotics Lab is expected to evolve as people realize its significance, and develop into a larger, more multifaceted lab with more equipment, more opportunities, and open lab times for students.
According to Professor Imberman, "the field of robotics is a sleeper field. Its potential for helping people is only starting to become a reality." For example, robots are already being used as an "assistive technology" aiding blind people when shopping, creating talking medication bottles for the elderly, as wheelchairs for the handicapped, and they even help mow the lawn or vacuum your house. Intelligent robot technology at CSI allows students to participate in this new and innovative technological frontier.