Lewis Promoted to Professor


The School of Information Sciences is proud to announce that Michael Lewis has been promoted to Full Professor as of July 2006.  The faculty, staff and students at SIS offer their congratulations to Lewis, who has been a member of the SIS faculty since 1987.  Lewis came to Pitt after earning his Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in Engineering Psychology (Human Factors) from Georgia Tech. His research is focused on human interaction with intelligent automation.

Lewis has designed, developed, and implemented a research program in Human Factors along with an evolving curriculum that keeps pace with the state-of-the-art.  His research efforts led to the founding (with the late Dr. Korfhage) of Pitt’s Usability Laboratory in 1996 and the Virtual Theater (a virtual reality facility) in 2003.  Lewis’ research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research (ONR), Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology among others. Lewis has more than 125 publications to his credit, and he has developed widely-used research tools in virtual reality, robotics, and military simulation.
Lewis’ current NSF grant addresses the problem of controlling teams of mobile robots for urban search and rescue (USAR).  In this project, Lewis is investigating control and coordination problems with both real physical robots and in simulation.  His robotic team, which relies on coordination among multiple robots and an innovative user interface and control regime (rather than expensive hardware) placed third in the RoboCup US Open in 2004 and 2005, placed first in the category of Autonomy in 2005 and 2006, and first in Mobility in 2005. Lewis’ work has led to the development of a high fidelity simulator that allows many different types of robotic platforms to be simulated and controlled. It has also led to the creation of the Virtual Robots competition in the RoboCup Urban Search and Rescue League, where the simulator is used as the required computational infrastructure.

This spring, Lewis was part of a team that won a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative award to study “Cognition and Collaboration in Network Centric Operations:  Understanding and Measuring Macro recognition in Teams.”  He mentors four PhD candidates and offers courses on Interactive Systems Design and Human Factors.