Dabbala Rajagopal "Raj" Reddy (born June 13, 1937) is an Indian-American computer scientist and a winner of the Turing Award. He is one of the early pioneers of Artificial Intelligence and has served on the faculty of Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University for over 40 years. He was the founding director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He was instrumental in helping to create Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies in India, to cater to the educational needs of the low-income, gifted, rural youth. He is also the chairman of International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. He is the first person of Asian origin to receive the ACM Turing Award, in 1994, the highest award in Computer Science, for his work in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
Dabbala Rajagopal Reddy was born in Katur, Chittoor district, Madras Presidency, British Raj. His father, Sreenivasulu Reddy, was an agricultural landlord, and his mother, Pitchamma, was a homemaker. He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy of the University of Madras (now Anna University, Chennai), India, in 1958. After that Reddy moved to Australia, and there he received a master's degree in technology from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1960. He also received a doctorate degree in computer science from Stanford University in 1966.
On the same year he started his academic career as an assistant professor in the same university. After that he joined as a member of Carnegie Mellon University faculty in 1969. He was the founding director of the Robotics Institute at the University from 1979 to 1991.
Now, he lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 50 years and they have two daughters. His daughters live on the West Coast. He visits his native country regularly to explore his passion of technology in service of society and to see his family who live in Bangalore.
Reddy is the Moza Bint Nasser University Professor of Computer Science and Robotics in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1960, Reddy worked for IBM in Australia. He was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University from 1966 to 1969. He joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty as an associate professor of Computer Science in 1969. He became a full professor in 1973 and a university professor, in 1984.
He was the founding director of the Robotics Institute from 1979 to 1991 and the Dean of School of Computer Science from 1991 to 1999. As a dean of SCS, he helped create the Language Technologies Institute, Human Computer Interaction Institute, Center for Automated Learning and Discovery (since renamed as the Machine Learning Department), and the Institute for Software Research. He is the chairman of Governing Council of IIIT Hyderabad and he is the Chancellor and the chairman of the Governing Council of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, India.
Reddy was a co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) from 1999 to 2001. He was one of the founders of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and was its President from 1987 to 1989. He serves on the International board of governors of Peres Center for Peace in Israel. He served as a member of the governing councils of EMRI and HMRI which use technology-enabled solutions to provide cost-effective health care coverage to rural population in India.
Reddy's early research was conducted at the AI labs at Stanford, first as a graduate student and later as an Assistant Professor, and at CMU since 1969. His AI research concentrated on perceptual and motor aspect of intelligence such as speech, language, vision and robotics. Over a span of three decades, Reddy and his colleagues created several historic demonstrations of spoken language systems, e.g., voice control of a robot, large vocabulary connected speech recognition, speaker independent speech recognition, and unrestricted vocabulary dictation. Reddy and his colleagues have also made seminal contributions to Task Oriented Computer Architectures, Analysis of Natural Scenes, Universal Access to Information, and Autonomous Robotic Systems. Hearsay I is one of the first systems capable of continuous speech recognition. Subsequent systems like Hearsay II, Dragon, Harpy, and Sphinx I/II developed many of the ideas underlying modern commercial speech recognition technology as summarized in his recent historical review of speech recognition with Xuedong Huang and James K. Baker.
Some of these ideas—most notably the "blackboard model" for coordinating multiple knowledge sources—have been adopted across the spectrum of applied artificial intelligence. His other major research interest has been in exploring the role of "Technology in Service of Society". An early attempt in this area was the establishment, in 1981, of the fr: Centre Mondial Informatique et Ressource Humaine in France by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and a technical team of Nicholas Negroponte, Alan Kay, Seymour Papert and Terry Winograd. Reddy served as the Chief Scientist for the center.
Since 1995, Reddy and colleagues in China and India have worked on "Universal Digital Library Project". The project is currently attempting to archive 1,000 newspapers for the next 1,000 years and provide online access to UNESCO heritage sites.
His current research centers around “Technology in Service of Society”, in particular creating voice only dialog based Apps for tasks such as online shopping and banking, online voting, a reading app that would read newspapers to people who cannot read, and dynamic realtime speech-to-speech translation of TV shows and lectures into local languages; all to enable semi-literate people in rural communities with connectivity and smart phones to benefit from advances in technology.
Awards and honors
His awards and recognitions include the following:
- He is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, IEEE and AAAI.
- Reddy is a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, Indian National Science Academy, and Indian National Academy of Engineering.
- He has been awarded honorary doctorates (Doctor Honoris Causa) from SV University, Universite Henri-Poincare, University of New South Wales, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, University of Massachusetts, University of Warwick, Anna University, Indian Institute for Information Technology (Allahabad), Andhra University, IIT Kharagpur and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
- In 1994 he and Edward Feigenbaum received the ACM Turing Award "For pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology".
- In 1984, Reddy was awarded the French Legion of Honour by French President François Mitterrand for his contributions as Chief Scientist at "Centre Mondial Informatique" in Paris in the use of "Technology in Service of Society".
- In 2001, Reddy was awarded Padma Bhushan, an award given by the Indian government that recognizes distinguished service of a high order to the nation.
- In 2004, Reddy received the Okawa Prize for pioneering researches of large-scale artificial intelligence system, human-computer interaction and Internet, and outstanding contributions to information and telecommunications policy and nurture of many human resources.
- He received the 2005 IJCAI Donald E. Walker Distinguished Service Award For, "His outstanding service to the AI community as President of AAAI, Conference Chair of IJCAI-79, and his leadership and promotion of AI internationally". He also received the IBM Research Ralph Gomory Visiting Scholar Award in 1991.
- In 2005, Reddy received the Honda Prize for his pioneering role in robotics and computer science which are expected to be used in the future society for a broad range of applications including education, medicine, healthcare, and disaster relief.
- In 2006 he received the Vannevar Bush Award, the highest Award of National Science Foundation in United States, for his lifetime contribution to science and long-standing statesmanship in science and behalf of the nation.
- In 2008, Reddy received the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award, "for leadership and pioneering contributions to speech recognition, natural language understanding, and machine intelligence".
- In 2011, Reddy was inducted into IEEE Intelligent Systems' AI's Hall of Fame for the "significant contributions to the field of AI and intelligent systems".
- Machine Intelligence and Robotics: Report of the NASA Study Group — Executive Summary, Final Report Carl Sagan (chair), Raj Reddy (vice chair) and others, NASA JPL, September 1979
- Foundations and Grand Challenges of Artificial Intelligence, AAAI Presidential Address, 1988.
- To Dream the Possible Dream, Turing Award Lecture presented at ACM CS Conference, March 1, 1995