Faculty Profiles

Laurel D. Riek

Assoc Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

Faculty-Affiliate, Calit2




Robotics, healthcare engineering, human-robot interaction, machine perception, computer vision, machine learning, non-linear dynamics

Professor Riek’s research goal is to enable robots to robustly solve problems in dynamically- changing human environments. Riek is particularly focused on problems in real-world, safety-critical healthcare environments, such as hospitals, homes and clinics. Her work tackles the fundamental and applied problems that make complex, real-world perception and interaction in these spaces so challenging for robots. Riek’s work draws on techniques from the fields of computer vision, machine learning, non-linear dynamics, and human factors to enable robots to autonomously perceive, respond, and adapt to people in the real world.  

Riek’s research has had an impact across many areas in robotics and healthcare, including new neurobiologically-inspired methods for robots to quickly sense contextual information about humans in very noisy environments, and new means for robots to quickly and accurately coordinate their motion with human teams. Additionally, she has been a pioneer in advancing the field of medical simulation by building interactive, expressive, robotic patient simulators driven on real patient data, which can autonomously sense and respond to clinicians. Riek also has designed new intelligent mHealth tools which make resuscitation safer in emergency medicine. Her current work explores how to design robots to learn from and adapt to people longitudinally, in areas such as in-clinic and home-based neurorehabilitation, and in assembly manufacturing contexts.

Capsule Bio:

Laurel Riek is an Associate Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, and joined the faculty in 2016. She is a roboticist with interests in human-robot interaction, machine perception, and healthcare engineering, and focuses on designing systems able to sense, respond, and adapt to people. Previously, Prof. Riek was the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame (2011-2016), and Senior Artificial Intelligence Engineer and Roboticist at The MITRE Corporation (2000-2007). She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge (2011), and B.S. in Logic and Computation from Carnegie Mellon University (2000). Riek has received the NSF CAREER Award, AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Qualcomm Research Scholar Award, and was named one of ASEE's 20 Faculty Under 40.

Selected Publications:

Google Scholar Publications

Laurel Riek
Office Phone:
858-822-5887
Institute Affiliation:
Contextual Robotics Institute,


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