Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D., M.B.A., is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Kansas and the Charles E. and Mary Jane Spahr Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is the incoming Dean for the School of Engineering at The Citadel. He was a Professor and the John P. Raynor, S.J., Distinguished Chair of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Marquette University (2012-2016). Dr. Williams directs the Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics (HEIR) Lab. He joined Marquette University in 2012 after serving as Department Chair in Computer and Information Sciences at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and as a Research Affiliate at Georgia Institute of Technology in the Human-Automation Systems Lab. He began his successful academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa College of Engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in AI from the University of Kansas in 1999, M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Marquette University in 1995, and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Kansas in 1988. He received his Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University and an executive education certificate in Fostering Inclusion and Diversity from the Yale School of Management in 2019. Dr. Williams is the former Senior Engineering Diversity Manager at Apple Inc. under Steve Jobs. He authored the book, Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives.
Dr. Williams’ research interests are in humanoid robotics and AI, intelligent humanoid coaches, and cooperative autonomous systems. His research aims to develop the theory and engineering principles for humanoid robots to cooperate intuitively and creatively with humans and other robots using principles from developmental artificial intelligence. Dr. Williams is also a recognized leader in broadening participating for women and underrepresented minorities in computing and STEM education. Dr. Williams founded the SpelBots and the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact Alliance. His research and education funding has included support from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA, Apple, Boeing, General Motors, General Electric and Google.
- “A Case Study on the Cybersecurity of Social Robots,” (with J. Miller and D. Peroulli), 13th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI18, Chicago, IL, March 2018, to appear.
- “The Potential Social Impact of the Artificial Intelligence Divide,” Ethics, Safety, and Trust in Intelligent Agents, AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium, Stanford, CA, March 2018, to appear.
- “Human-Centered Design of a Low-Cost Social Robot for Teaching Children STEM“ (with T. Do, M. Unger, and J. Williams), 3rd Workshop on Child-Robot Interaction, at 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI17, Vienna, Austria, March 2017.
- “Culturally Responsive Social Robotics Instruction for Middle School Girls“ (with K. Baert and A. Williams), 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI17, Vienna, Austria, March 2017.
- “Smart Topic Detection for Robot Conversation“ (with E. Russell and R. Povinelli), 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI16, New Zealand, March 2016.
- “Effects of SMILE Emotional Model on Humanoid Robot User Interaction“ (with E. Russell), 10th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI15, Portland, Oregon, March 2015.
- “SMILE: A Verbal and Graphical User Interface Tool for Speech Control of Soccer Robots“ (with A. Stroud, E. Russell, R. Chinang, K. Carey, J.C. Williams, and D. Ramgoolam), IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoids, 9th Workshop on Humanoid Soccer Robots, Madrid, Spain, 2014.
- “Humanoid Robots Discovering Creative Concepts Through Social Interaction”, Artificial Intelligence for Human-Robot Interaction, AAAI Fall Symposium, Washington, D.C., AAAI Press, 2014.
- “SMILE: A Portable Humanoid Robot Emotion Interface“ (with E. Russell, A. Stroud, J. Christian, and D. Ramgoolam), 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI14, Bielefeld University, Germany, March 2014.
- “Towards a Social and Mobile Humanoid Exercise Coach“ (with D. Ramgoolam, E. Russell), 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI14, Bielefeld University, Germany, March 2014.
- “MU-L8: The Design Architecture and 3D Printing of a Teen-Sized Humanoid Soccer Robot“ (with A. Stroud, K. Carey, J.C. Williams, C. Randolph), IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoids, 8th Workshop on Humanoid Soccer Robots, Atlanta, GA, 2013.
- “Computational Awareness in a Tactile-Responsive Human Robot Comedian” (with P. Kaefer, K. Germino, D. Venske), IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, (IEEE SMC 2013), pp. 2843-2848, Manchester, UK, 2013.
- “Creative Concept Invention and Representation in an Interactive Child-Robot Healthy Snack Design Game” (with A. Stroud, J. Panka, J. Williams), Computational Creativity, Concept Invention, and General Intelligence (C3GI), International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2013), Bejing, China.
- “Towards Creative Humanoid Conceptualization Learning from Metaphor-Guided Pretense Play”, Creativity and (Early) Cognitive Development: A Perspective from Artificial Creativity, Developmental AI, and Robotics, AAAI Spring Symposium, Stanford University, AAAI Press, pp. 79-83, 2013.
- “Sequential Auctions for Heterogeneous Task Allocations” (with G.T. Thomas), IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, & Cybernetics, 2009.
- Out of the Box: Building Robots, Transforming Lives (with E. Gilbreath), Moody Publishers and Institute for Black Family Development, Chicago, 2009.
- “SpelBots: Using Autonomous Robotics to Inspire Women to Participate in Computer Science” (with Whitney O’Banner), Using AI to Motivate Greater Participation in Computer Science, AAAI Spring Symposium, Stanford University, AAAI Press, 2008.
- “IDOCS: Intelligent Distributed Ontology Consensus System – The Use of Machine Learning in Retinal Drusen Phenotyping,” (with G. Thomas, M.A. Grassi, J.R. Lee, A.O. Edwards, M.B. Gorin, R., Klein, T.L. Casavant, T.E. Scheetz, E.M. Stone), Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, 2007.
- “Learning to Share Meaning in a Multi-Agent Systems” J. of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, vol. 8, no. 2, 165-193, 2004.
- Machine Learning / Neural Networks
- Human-Robot Interaction
- Intelligent Social Robot Design
- Computer Hardware and Software
- Humanoid-Robot Interaction
- Object-Oriented Software Engineering
- Database Systems
- Artificial Intelligence
Honors and Awards
- Mike and Joyce Shinn Innovator and Leader Award, KU Black Alumni Network
- Selected as TEDx UW-Milwaukee speaker
- Marquette University Tribee Award, HEIR Lab, Student Chapter of the Year
- 20 Most Creative Milwaukeeans, Milwaukee Magazine, November 2013
- NPR’s Tell Me More Black Tech Game Changers
- 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology
- HistoryMaker / ScienceMaker
- IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Speaker
- National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering Participant
- GEM Consortium Alumni Mentoring Award
- Marquette University Young Engineering Alumni Award
- Robots Don’t Play Sports for Fun, New York Magazine, March 2015
- Marquette social media class raises money through crowdfunding campaigns, April 2014
- Sassy Robot to RoboCup, Milwaukee Magazine, March 2014
- MU Qualifies for Robotic Soccer Event, Marquette Tribune, March 2014
- Are Americans Getting Smarter About Obesity?, NPR Tell Me More, December 2013.
- Marquette University Professor Developing Robot to Help Children Exercise, ASEE First Bell, Dec. 19, 2013.
- Fox 6 StudioA 20 Most Creative TV Interview
- Milwaukee Magazine, “Do the Robot”
- Marquette University Robotics Program Gets Recognition, WISN-12 ABC
- Marquette Humanoid Robots to the Rescue
- Marquette Magazine, Campus Q&A
- Black Enterprise Magazine, The Maker Movement
- NSF Science Nation – The SpelBots
- Co-Robots for CompuGirls: Culturally Responsive Robotics Education for Underrepresented Girls, funded by National Science Foundation, National Robotics Initiative
- Humanoid Co-Robotics Curriculum and Kits for Girls and Boys, funded by National Science Foundation, Innovation Corps for Learning (I-Corps L)