Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory director and MIT Schwarzman College of Computing deputy dean of research, Daniela Rus, will serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, announces a press release of the White House. 

The council provides advice to the White House on topics critical to U.S. security and the economy, including policy recommendations on the future of work, American leadership in science and technology, and the support of U.S. research and development.

PCAST operates under the aegis of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which was established in law in 1976. However, the council has existed more informally going back to Franklin Roosevelt’s Science Advisory Board in 1933.

“I’m grateful to be able to add my perspective as a computer scientist to this group at a time when so many issues involving AI and other aspects of computing raise important scientific and policy questions for the nation and the world,” says Rus.

Rus is the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and the deputy dean of research for the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. Her research in robotics, artificial intelligence, and data science focuses primarily on developing the science and engineering of autonomy, with the long-term objective of enabling a future where machines are integrated into daily life to support both cognitive and physical tasks. The applications of her work are broad and include transportation, manufacturing, medicine, and urban planning.

More than a dozen MIT faculty and alumni have served on PCAST during past presidential administrations. These include former MIT president Charles Vest; Institute Professors Phillip Sharp and John Deutch; Ernest Moniz, professor of physics and former U.S. Secretary of Energy; and Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and professor of biology, who co-chaired PCAST during the Obama administration. Previous councils have offered advice on topics ranging from data privacy and nanotechnology to job training and STEM education.

Daniela Rus was born in 1963 in Cluj, she graduated in 1981 from the „Nicolae Bălcescu” high school in the locality. She emigrated to the United States in the 1980s, and in 1993, at the age of 30, she became a doctor of computer science at Cornell University.

Since 2003 he has been working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where since 2012 he has been the director of the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (LSCID), considered the most advanced in the world in the field of robotics.

“Everyone thinks about how to make the future better, what kinds of things we need in the future. People have wild and crazy ideas and people are fun. We are excited, we are full of life and we love what we do, most importantly. I think we have tremendous students. We have tremendous faculty members. We have extraordinary staff, so it’s a very special community that has the role of inventing the future of computing,” mentioned Daniela Rus for Tech Crunch. 

„I can’t say that I thought I would be a teacher at MIT when I was in high school, in Romania, but I had enough dreams, I didn’t know which ones are achievable, but this is a very important thing, if you have dreams, you have ideas, you have desire to do something which is very important. I was reading Jules Verne with great passion. And I can say that his stories really inspired me today. I was very passionate and I remember the movie Lost in Space and Star Trek well „, she declared for Pro TV.

Her work shifted from the large, industrial robots that dominated research in the mid-90s, to the notion that robots could become more portable and modular. “The idea was to make a robot out of cells, just like living organisms are made out of cells,” Rus explains. “If you have cells, you can create whatever shape you want.” She formed the Distributed Robotics Lab at Dartmouth, taking it with her as she made the jump.