Bob McGhee

Bob McGhee

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA

United States

Research Areas

Automation, Computational and Artificial Intelligence, Computer Architecture, Military Computing, Robot Programming, Robots


Bob McGhee was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1929. He received a B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1952. Following graduation, he served three years of active duty with the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps before joining the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft Company from 1955 to 1963. During this time period he was also able to complete a M.S. (1957) and Ph.D. (1963) in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California. After completing his doctorate, he went on to teach as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California from 1963 to 1967 and as an Associate Professor from 1967 to 1968. In 1968 he left USC for a position as full Professor of Electrical Engineering at Ohio State University, where he stayed until 1986. During this period he also served as Director of the Digital Systems Laboratory. From 1986 to 2006, he was a Professor of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School. He held this position until his retirement in 2006, but continues to volunteer his time at university as Professor Emeritus in the graduate school’s Computer Science department. His research interests focus on military robotics, computer architecture and graphics, and artificial intelligence and autonomous robotics.

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Bob McGhee discusses his career in robotics, in particular his work on guided missiles, walking robots, and unmanned submarines. Describing his work on robotics projects, such as the phony pony and the bionic bug, he emphasizes the animal and human influence. Discussing the fallibility of robots, he describes the research and work being done at the time, as well as comments on the change in the perception of robotics and the evolution of the field.