Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Ben Kuipers recognized for outstanding service in CSE, Robotics

Kuipers has made numerous contributions to the CSE Division and U-M Robotics Institute, as well as contributed to national-level efforts to promote more ethical and diverse research in robotics and AI.

Benjamin Kuipers portrait Enlarge
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science professor Benjamin Kuipers

Prof. Ben Kuipers has been selected to receive the 2020-21 Herbert Kopf Service Excellence Award from the College of Engineering, in recognition of his significant service contributions to the College and University. Kuipers has made numerous contributions to the CSE Division and U-M Robotics Institute, as well as contributed to national-level efforts to promote more ethical and diverse research in robotics and AI.

Kuipers was one of the key faculty to initiate the formation of the U-M Robotics Institute. In 2011, working with Prof. Dawn Tilbury (Mechanical Engineering), the pair developed the idea, gathered information from across the university in support of it, and pitched the institute to leadership. In the time since, the Institute of Robotics has become home to 30 core faculty and over 50 affiliated faculty, launched a PhD and MS program, opened a new building, and received national and international recognition. In addition to being one of the initiators of the initiative, Kuipers has continued to contribute by serving on the institute’s Steering Committee (2013-16), serving as Director of the Search Committee (2014-15), and most recently by participating in the Robotics Future Project (2019-20).

On the national scene, Kuipers is a pioneer in the area of AI and Ethics. Since he first started talking publicly and in the media about the necessity of defining and understanding AI and Ethics, this area has grown significantly. Today there are even conferences and symposia dedicated to the subject. Moreover, Kuipers is one of the co-instructors of the AI and Ethics class at Michigan, offering students the opportunity to learn more about this upcoming field of study.

Kuipers served as Chair of the CSE Faculty Search Committee from 2017 to 2020, during which time he led a reorganization and restructuring of the search process. The search process was made more transparent, and several tools were made available for every faculty member to access information on the search process. During 2019-2020, the schedule of interviews was also reorganized to allow for a larger number, up to as many as 40 in one academic year. Kuipers has been a strong advocate for interviewing and hiring diverse candidates with strong technical skills that match the needs of the department. Under his leadership, the search committee interviewed 88 faculty candidates, out of which 20 joined the Division.

Kuipers has also served as an undergraduate advisor for the CS-Eng major, a member of the CSE Executive Committee, a member of the Tauber Institute’s Internal Review Committee, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council.

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Benjamin Kuipers; Honors and Awards