Information Technology in Service to Society:

Opportunities and Challenges



Director of CITRIS

(Center for Information Technology Research

in the Interest of Society)

 University of California, Berkeley




In this presentation we shall first explain the concept of this Institute, its organization and its goals.  CITRIS is an Institute in which we use applications such as Energy Conservation, Environmental Monitoring, Seismographic Monitoring of Critical Infrastructures to test our driving technologies. All the above mentioned applications require some sensing, signal processing, communication and data interpretation.


The difference for CITRIS from other similar efforts is that it aims to study these technologies on a large, societal scale. This is, of course, the challenge in academic environments because of more individualistic traditions.  Furthermore, these studies are by their very nature interdisciplinary, which puts another dimension of complexity on this activity.


CITRIS is also addressing several IT applications for economists and humanists.  These are, typically, using large data sets such as one finds either on the web or in digital libraries.  This new media, i.e., digital data sets – as opposed to books, pictures or sculptures, poses a very new challenge, which is how to use this information for humanists in their teaching and research. Authentication of data is only one example of such challenges.  We shall show some concrete examples for all the issue mentioned above.



Brief Biography:

Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy (“buy chee”) was appointed Director of CITRIS at the University of California, Berkeley on November 1, 2001.  Prior to coming to Berkeley, she was Assistant Director of the Computer Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) between December 1, 1998 and September 1, 2001.  As head of National Science Foundation’s CISE directorate, Dr. Bajcsy managed a $500 million annual budget.  She came to the NSF from the University of Pennsylvania where she was a professor of computer science and engineering.


Dr. Bajcsy is a pioneering researcher in machine perception, robotics and artificial intelligence.  She is a professor both in the Computer and Information Science Department and in the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics Department at Berkeley.  She is also a member of the Neuroscience Institute and the School of Medicine.  She is also Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics and Active Sensory Perception Laboratory, which she founded in 1978.


Dr. Bajcsy has done seminal research in the areas of human-centered computer control, cognitive science, robotics, computerized radiological/medical image processing and artificial vision.  She is highly regarded, not only for her significant research contributions, but also for her leadership in the creation of a world-class robotics laboratory, recognized world wide as a premiere research center.  She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as the Institute of Medicine.  She is especially known for her wide-ranging, broad outlook in the field and her cross-disciplinary talent and leadership in successfully bridging such diverse areas as robotics and artificial intelligence, engineering and cognitive science.


Dr. Bajcsy received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Slovak Technical University in 1957 and 1967, respectively.  She received a Ph.D. in computer science in 1972 from Stanford University, and since that time has been teaching and doing research at Penn’s Department of Computer and Information Science.  She began as an assistant professor and within 13 years became chair of the department.  Prior to her work at the University of Pennsylvania, she taught during the 1950s and 1960s as an instructor and assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Department of Computer Science at Slovak Technical University in Bratislava.  She has served as advisor to more than 50 Ph.D. recipients.  In 2001 she received an honorary doctorate from Universty of Ljubljana in Slovenia


In 2001 she became a recipient of the ACM A. Newell award.