USC Computer Science Professor Named to DARPA ISAT Study Group

| March 5, 2021

Maja Matarić has been selected among 30 of the nation’s top computer scientists.

Matarić is a leading researcher in the field of socially assistive robotics. Photo/Florence Hui.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has named USC Professor Maja Matarić to the Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group. Matarić is the Chan Soon-Shiong Chair and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics. Her three-year term begins this summer.

According to DARPA’s website, the agency’s mission is to “make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.” Established 1987, the ISAT group brings together 30 of the nation’s top computer scientists and information technologists from leading universities and selected corporations. DARPA relies on the group to provide independent analysis and assessment of defense-related information science and technology, identifying opportunities for innovation and new technical areas in need of intensified effort.

“I am especially looking forward to contributing expertise in areas related to interdisciplinary human-centered and assistive computing and robotics.” Maja Matarić.

“DARPA has a well-recognized history of supporting some of the most innovative and transformative research,” said Matarić. “My own first research at USC was supported by DARPA, so it is a pleasure to now have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion about DARPA’s priorities. Naturally, I am especially looking forward to contributing expertise in areas related to interdisciplinary human-centered and assistive computing and robotics.”

Matarić is a leading researcher in the field of socially assistive robotics, which focuses on developing personalized human-robot interaction methods for populations with special needs across the age and ability spectrum. Recently, her research group deployed socially assistive robot tutors for children with autism spectrum disorder during long-term, in-home interventions in LA inner-city neighborhoods.

In addition, Matarić leads the USC Interaction Lab, is the founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center and oversees the USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Center. Since January 2020, she has served as interim Vice President of Research at USC. In 2021, she was recognized as an ACM Fellow for contributions to socially assistive robotics and human-robot systems.   

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