Florian Potra, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Abstract: Robots have been with us for only half a century, but the idea of man made mechanisms that can work and think goes back to ancient civilizations. The lecture presents the most important historical developments in robotics, emphasizing its interplay with mathematics. The first part of the lecture summarizes the pioneering work of Heron of Alexandria, Philo of Byzantium, Al-Jazari, Leonardo da Vinci, and other scientists up to the twentieth century. The second part is dedicated to artificial intelligence and the mathematical tools involved. The lecture concludes with the latest developments in robotics, and presents some open research problems in engineering, computer science, and mathematics, that need to be solved in order to fulfill the long standing promises of robotics.