Please share your memories of Dick with others.
The Workshop on Intelligent Systems: A Festschrift for Richard Volz
was held to honor and celebrate the career of Richard Volz.
The workshop was held at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.
The program included an opening reception on the evening of Thursday,
April 8, technical presentations on April 9-10, and a banquet which
included reminiscences about Dick on the evening of Friday, April 9.
Dr. Richard Volz, an IEEE Fellow, retired from Texas A&M in 2004.
Prior to retirement, he was the
Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor of Engineering in the Computer Science Department at
Texas A&M University. He served as Department Head from 1988 to 1997, and continued an
active research career after that. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Dr. Volz was founding
Director the Robotics Research Laboratory and Professor of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science at the University of Michigan. While at the University of Michigan,
he also served terms as Associate Department Head, Associate Director of the Computer
Center and Director of the Computer and Image Processing Research Network (CIPRNet).
In 1971, he spent the (Northern Hemisphere) summer at the University of Chile, as part
of an Organization of American States program. During the summers of 1973 and 1974,
he held a summer faculty position at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He received his
B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University
in 1960, 1961 and 1964 respectively.
He is the author or co-author of over 175 research papers, has led over $15,000,000
in funded research projects. He has served in numerous professional service positions,
e.g., Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, the leading
journal in the field, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic
Systems, General Chair of the 1990 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation, Vice-President for Publications for the IEEE Robotics and Automation
Society (RAS), President of RAS, member of the IEEE Publications, Services and
Products Board, Member of the IEEE Board of Directors, and numerous related committees.
Early in his career, he served as Secretary of the IEEE Automatic Control Group.
As an undergraduate, he was editor of the Northwestern Engineer.
Dr. Volz has also served on five federal advisory boards: 1) the Air Force Scientific
Advisory Board, 2) the Ada Board, 3) The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, a Congressional
oversight committee on NASA, 4) the NASA Space Station Advisory Panel, and 5) the NASA
Center of Excellence in Information Technology Advisory Panel.
As Department Head at Texas A&M, he led a major renaissance in the Department culture.
During this tenure as Department Head, the number of tenured or tenure track faculty
doubled, the rate of research journal publication increased by a factor of seven,
and the research funding rate more than quadrupled, and faculty in the Department held
key editorial positions on nearly 30 major journals, chaired an average of four major
international conferences per year, and held numerous key positions on other advisory
panels and in professional societies. The Department had half or more of the total
NSF NYI/PYI/CAREER grant awardees in the College at the time. Within IEEE, he also
instigated numerous organizational advances, e.g., new journals, the Steering
Committee on Technical Programs and the Conference Editorial Board.
While he is best known for his work in robotics and automation, especially networked
telerobotics and teleautonomous systems, he has worked in a broad set of interconnecting
areas. Early in his career, he led the development of two computer aided design systems
for control systems that were used in a number of universities and companies around
the World. He also worked on optimal control systems and computational methods of
optimization. Later, he worked on real time systems and distributed languages, and led
the development of a distributed Ada technology and graphical system for managing the
distribution of modules among networked computers. He completed his technical career
working on the use of artificial intelligence concepts for training a human workforce.
In addition to his IEEE Fellow award, he has received the Decoration for Exceptional
Civilian Service from the U.S. Air Force, the Public Service Award from NASA, two Special
Service Awards from NASA, an appreciation plaque from the NASA astronauts, and the
Millennium Medal and Robotics & Automation Society Distinguished Service Award from IEEE.
As an undergraduate, he received the Esbach Award, the highest award given to an
undergraduate engineering student at Northwestern.
In his personal life, Dr. Volz has been married to his wonderful wife Mary for over
48 years. They have three great children, Cynthia, Richard and Keith. Both boys are
certified scuba divers, as is Dick, and they enjoy diving together annually. Dick's
principal avocation is photography,
and he is proud to have recently had two of his photos win minor awards and appear in print.
He has also served as Financial Secretary and Treasurer for his church, and as
Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America.
Financial support for the workshop is provided in part by the
Department of Computer Science and Engineering and by the
at Texas A&M University.
For more information
Contact volzfest [at] cse.tamu.edu
with any questions.