U of M CSE Announces New Master’s Degree in Robotics, Paves Way For Bright or Doomed Future

by Alex Skjong

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Sometimes, you read news that’s equal parts exciting and potentially terrifying. Case in point — the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering announced it will be offering a new master’s degree in robotics.

Folks, I’ve seen “Terminator.” You’ve seen “Terminator.” We all know where this is headed.

But until an intrepid Gopher engineer pulls back a curtain and proudly reveals a T-800, the addition of the degree represents a step forward from the university in answering the need for robotics engineers and scientists worldwide. Medicine, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture — what aren’t robots involved with these days (he said in his most convincing Seinfeld impression)?

“Robots, automation and artificial intelligence have become a part of our everyday lives,” Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, director of the University’s new Minnesota Robotics Institute, said in a release. “Our new master’s degree program will educate the next generation of robotic engineers and scientists who have both critical thinking skills and technical ability to propose innovative ideas and analyze solutions for the future in areas we haven’t even thought of yet.”

The program will be offered by the Minnesota Robotics Institute, housed in the Gemini-Huntley Robotics Research Laboratory, and will consist of three semesters of collaborative learning featuring more than 30 faculty members from various disciplines including computer science, electrical and computer engineering, aerospace engineering, and more. Full and partial scholarships will be offered and qualified students will have the opportunity to participate in teaching assistantships and paid summer internships.

“We truly believe we have a one-of-a-kind master’s program in robotics that combines the best cutting-edge theory and research in artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, robotics, and sensing,” Papanikolopoulos said in the release. “This master’s program will provide the leading professionals and entrepreneurs in all of these areas for years to come.”

The program is currently accepting applications for Fall 2020.

It’s important to say, again, that we, for one, welcome our robotic overlords.

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