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Andrew B. Williams, Grad ’95

Andrew Williams

If you have been reading up on distributed artificial intelligence, autonomous agents and multi-agent systems, cognitive robotics and bioinformatics, then you’re familiar with the name Andrew Williams, associate professor of computer and information sciences and the director of the artificial intelligence, informatics and robotics lab at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Step a little deeper into the mainstream, and you still may know his work. After all, Andrew’s SpelBots — Spelman College’s RoboCup soccer robotics team — has been featured on several national television and radio shows, as well as in several magazines and newspapers.

The more attention the better, says Andrew.

“The media coverage encourages me because I want more young girls and African- American children to see what our young women at Spelman are doing in spite of the odds against them. I want children to get excited about technology so they will want to go to schools like Marquette to study engineering and to see role models who look like them, who are dreaming about making an impact in science and engineering,” Andrew says.

Andrew is most certainly making an impact. He’s secured nearly $6 million of research and educational funding and serves as the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded project, ARTSI (Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact).

In addition to his master’s degree with a concentration in electrical and computer engineering earned at Marquette, Andrew received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas and was the first African-American to graduate from there with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

He earned that doctorate to become a professor, so that he could be a role model for other African-American youth who are curious about the computer industry. He hopes some of them will become role models, who in turn will become role models.

 

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