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Top Schools in Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

by Laura Fletcher, studioD

If Hollywood movies are any indication, the world of the future will be a world of robots. Students who want to lead the robot revolution should consider the top U.S. schools for artificial intelligence and robotics. According to the State of Minnesota's website iseek, there are about 40 colleges nationwide offering programs in this field, with some two-year colleges offering associate degrees that focus on the practical knowledge and use of robots in manufacturing. However, the top schools offering training in the design and construction of robots and artificial intelligence typically offer only graduate degrees in the subject and require students to get a degree in computer science or engineering first.


The nation’s best tech school is naturally home to its most cutting-edge program in artificial intelligence and robotics. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) conducts cross-disciplinary research on developments like 3D printed robots and sensorimotor neurobotics. Three post-doctoral researchers in CSAIL’s program were recently featured in the 2013 list of AI's 10 to Watch, an annual survey by IEEE Intelligent Systems magazine that highlights 10 up-and-coming scientific leaders in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

Carnegie Mellon

Ranked second only to MIT nationally by “U.S. News & World Report,” Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute established the country’s first Ph.D. program in robotics and also offers various master’s degrees as well as an undergraduate major and minor for those who want to focus their careers on AI. The program conducts research on key robotics technologies such as manipulation, locomotion and control as well as related areas like machine learning, computer vision and graphics. Carnegie Mellon’s team was one of six nationally that was invited to compete in the Track A match of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge.


Comfortably nestled in Silicon Valley, Stanford is a natural fit for artificial intelligence research, and its program is ranked third in the U.S. by “U.S. News & World Report.” Housed in the Gates Computer Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility built by the founder of Microsoft, the program has close ties to local high-tech multinationals and has done pioneering research in driverless vehicles, in 2005 winning the DARPA Grand Challenge by designing a robot-driven car that cruised 131 miles along a California desert trail without previous practice.

UC Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley is, of course, also comfortably close to Silicon Valley, and “U.S. News & World Report” ranks it right behind Stanford at number four. Students in AI at this giant research university can take seminars on Nanoscale Construction With DNA and Advanced Topics in Bioelectronics to learn how to build nanorobots that fight disease. They can also do research at the Berkeley Initiative in Soft Computing (BISC) and the Center for Intelligent Systems (CIS). The AI program conducts research in the core areas of knowledge representation, reasoning, learning, planning, decision making, vision, robotics, speech and language processing and also works on applying algorithmic advances to applied problems in bioinformatics, networking and systems, search and information retrieval. It collaborates with several Berkeley campus groups, including the vision sciences group, the information retrieval group at the I-School and the computational biology program.

About the Author

Laura Holland Fletcher has graduate level training in ESL, linguistics and the teaching of writing. She taught ESL and college writing for more than 10 years in both the US and Asia. She also writes for local and national magazines that cover legal, educational and social justice issues.

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