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In Memoriam.

AAAI is sad to report that AAAI Fellow Charles (Chuck) Rich passed away on January 3, 2018 at the age of 66. He served AAAI as an Executive Councilor (1984-87) and as program cochair of the 1998 National Conference on Artificial Intelligence. A professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) since 2007, Rich was a pioneer in AI and human-computer interaction. He was also affiliated with the WPI's Interactive Media and Game Development, Learning Sciences and Technologies, and Robotics Engineering programs, and had previously served as a principal research scientist at MIT and a founding member and distinguished scientist at the Mitsubishi Electronic Research Laboratories (MERL).

Rich joined the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as a research scientist in 1980. At MIT, he founded and directed the Programmer's Apprentice project, which aimed to develop a theory of "how expert programmers analyze, synthesize, modify, explain, specify, verify, and document programs," according to a research overview he coauthored in 1993.

In 1991, Rich joined the staff of MERL, the North American subsidiary of the corporate research and development organization of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Located in Cambridge, MERL conducted research in a wide range of fields within electronics and information technology. Rich and his wife, Candace Sidner, a research professor in computer science at WPI, worked in the area of collaborative agents. Their aim was to develop intelligent agents that could provide a unified conversational interface for all the appliances in a home. As part of that project, Rich and Sidner created a software platform called COLLAGEN, an application-independent collaboration manager. The platform, which has had an important influence on subsequent work in dialogue processing, was used to develop a number of collaborative agents, including DiamondHelp, a finalist in two design competitions in 2005. His most recent work with Sonia Chernova, Dmitry Berenson, Anahita Mohseni-Kabir, and Candy Sidner, permits the simultaneous learning by a robot of low level primitive actions and hierarchical task networks with minimal demonstrations.

Rich's research included the Collagen/Disco collaborative dialog manager, an effort at developing and using tools for managing dialog based on the Grosz, Sidner, Lochbaum, Kraus theory of dialog and collaboration; the development in 1995 of the MERL Diamond Park, a social virtual reality world using networked computers; and his most recent work with Sonia Chernova, Dmitry Berenson, Anahita MohseniKabir, and Candy Sidner, which permits the simultaneous learning by a robot of low level primitive actions and hierarchical task networks with minimal demonstrations.

A senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Rich was honored for his early work in artificial intelligence by being elected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in 1992.

He held four patents, including one for systems for collaborative interfaces (with Candace Sidner) and over 70 refereed journal and magazine articles and conference presentations. In addition to his service for AAAI, he served as chair of the 1992 International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, cochaired the 2010 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, and was program cochair of the 2011 International Conference on the Foundation of Digital Games.

For more information, please see www.wpi.edu/ news/memoriam-charles-rich-computer-science-professor-and-artificial-intelligence-pioneer.
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Title Annotation:AAAI News; Charles Rich
Publication:AI Magazine
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2018
Words:528
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