Professor, Robotics Institute

Courtesy Appointment, Mechanical Engineering

Howie Choset

Source: College of Engineering


Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Avenue
NSH 3205
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: (412) 268-7350




Howie Choset is a Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Motivated by applications in confined spaces, Choset has created a comprehensive program in snake robots, which has led to basic research in mechanism design, path planning, motion planning, and estimation. These research topics are important because once the robot is built (design), it must decide where to go (path planning), determine how to get there (motion planning), and use feedback to close the loop (estimation). By pursuing the fundamentals, this research program has made contributions to coverage tasks, dynamic climbing, and mapping large spaces. Already, Choset has directly applied this body of work to challenging and strategically significant problems in diverse areas such as surgery, manufacturing, infrastructure inspection, and search and rescue. Choset directs the Undergraduate Robotics Minor at Carnegie Mellon and teaches an overview course on Robotics which uses series of custom developed Lego Labs to complement the course work. Professor Choset's students have won best paper awards at the RIA in 1999 and ICRA in 2003; his group's work has been nominated for best papers at ICRA in 1997, IROS in 2003 and 2007, and CLAWAR in 2012 (best biorobotics paper, best student paper); won best paper at IEEE Bio Rob in 2006; won best video at ICRA 2011; and was nominated for best video in ICRA 2012. In 2002 the MIT Technology Review elected Choset as one of its top 100 innovators in the world under 35. In 2005, MIT Press published a textbook, lead authored by Choset, entitled "Principles of Robot Motion." Recently, Choset co-founded a company called Medrobotics (formerly Cardiorobotics) which makes a small surgical snake robot for minimally invasive surgery.


B.S.E. Computer Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1990
B.S.Econ. The Wharton School of Business, 1990
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1991
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1996


My goal has been, and remains, to bring the precision of computer science and applied mathematics to the realities and uncertainties of mechanical systems. I will continue to make fundamental contributions in design, motion planning, path planning, and estimation.

It is the excitement of working with students that continues to draw me to academia. I am certain that a casual tour of my lab reveals a feeling of energy and productivity. My students, both graduate and undergraduate, work hard to provide fresh new insights within the framework of mathematical and experimental rigor endowed by my research program. This philosophy of theoretic and applied rigor has been the cornerstone of my graduate course, Robotic Motion Planning (16-735), which has resulted in a co-authored textbook on motion planning. Also, guided by this philosophy of mathematical and experimental rigor, I designed and continue to teach an undergraduate class, Introduction to Robotics (16-311), that makes use of LEGO robots to reinforce basic principles taught in class. This course provides the basis for the Undergraduate Robotics Minor, which I founded in 1998 and have directed since its inception. This minor is one of the first undergraduate certifications for robotics in the world. Building off the success of the minor, I introduced a fifth year Robotics Masters Program for Carnegie Mellon undergraduates.