Lynne Parker

Lynne Parker
Assistant Director for Artificial Intelligence
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Lynne E. Parker is currently (as of August 2018) on loan to the Federal government in Washington, D.C., working at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as Assistant Director of Artificial Intelligence. 

Dr. Parker is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). She previously served as Interim Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, and as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Engagement. Prior to becoming Associate Dean, she served as the Division Director of the Information and Intelligent Systems Division, within the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she provided research leadership and strategic planning in the areas of information and intelligent systems, and oversaw an annual research budget of approximately $200 million. At NSF, she co-chaired a White House-commissioned task force that created the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan. Dr. Parker has been on the UTK faculty since 2002, and served as Associate Head for Strategic Planning and External Relations in the EECS Department from 2010-2014. She also served as Assistant Director of the UTK/ORNL Science Alliance (2008-2014), where she was principally responsible for managing the UT-ORNL Joint Directed Research and Development Program. Prior to joining the UTK faculty, she worked for several years as a Distinguished Research and Development Staff Member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she served as a group leader in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division for several years.

Dr. Parker received her Ph.D. degree in computer science in 1994 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), performing her research on cooperative control algorithms for multi-robot systems in MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (now the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory), with a minor in brain and cognitive science. She received her M.S. degree in computer science from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and her B.S. degree in computer science from Tennessee Technological University, with a minor in mathematics.

Dr. Parker founded the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory at UTK, which conducts research in multi-robot systems, sensor networks, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. She has made significant research contributions in distributed and heterogeneous robot systems, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. Her dissertation research (1994) on ALLIANCE, a distributed architecture for multi-robot cooperation, was the first PhD dissertation worldwide on the topic of multi-robot systems, and is considered a pioneering work in the field. She has published extensively in these areas. Sponsors of her research have included the National Science Foundation (NSF)Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology LaboratoriesScience Applications International Corporation (SAIC)Caterpillar Inc., the Institute for Personal Robots in Education, and Hughes Research Laboratory.

Dr. Parker is an active leader in her field, and is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences, workshops, and universities, having given over 110 invited lectures in more than 15 countries. Dr. Parker has also been active in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for many years; she served as the General Chair for the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE RAS Conference Editorial Board, as an Administrative Committee Member of RAS, and as Editor of IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Dr. Parker has served on many government advisory boards to evaluate research progress and state of the art. She served on a study of the National Research Council (NRC) on Persistent Surveillance: A Critical Tool for the Counter-IED Mission. She serves as an appointed member of the National Research Council's (NRC) Panel on Review of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which assesses the quality of NIST's scientific and technical programs in the area of engineering research. She also serves on the National Research Council's Panel on Mechanical Science and Engineering at the Army Research Laboratory, which evaluates research at the Army Research Laboratory in the areas of robotic/vehicle intelligence and control, robotic perception, and human-robot interaction. She has previously served on the NRC's Advisory Panel on Information Science, and previously on the NRC's Advisory Panels on Air and Ground Vehicle Technology, and on Armor and Armaments, all of which oversee research at the Army Research Laboratory. She also served on the Strategic Advisory Commission for the European Commission's research program entitled Beyond Robotics, and frequently served as a technical reviewer for the European Union's Information Society Technologies research programs. Dr. Parker was a selected member of the 2004-2005 class of the Defense Science Study Group, which is a program administered by the Institute for Defense Analyses for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to introduce professors of science and engineering to the challenges facing national security.

Prof. Parker also values teaching and training the next generation of scholars in computer science. Prior to her duties as Associate Dean, she taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes at the University of Tennessee in robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithms, and related topics.

Dr. Parker has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and service, including the PECASE Award (U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers), the IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award, and many UTK Chancellors, College, and Departmental awards, as well as TTU alumni awards. She is Distinguished Member of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and a Fellow of IEEE.

Lynne's husband, Bob, is a CPA with expertise in business valuation and strategic planning.

Recent Events and Presentations

May 30, 2019

Artificial Intelligence is the proverbial Wild West, at least that's what concerns many skeptics. Please join ITIF's Center for Data Innovation in partnership with NIST for a conversation about the state of play in developing standards and oversight of AI systems, the need for proper governance of AI in key industries like health care and transportation, and the role that policymakers can play in advancing these efforts.

December 4, 2018

While many nations have developed national strategies to support the development and adoption of AI, the United States has not. Join ITIF's Center for Data Innovation for the release of a new report laying out a detailed national AI strategy and a panel discussion about the ways in which policymakers can make the United States more competitive in the global AI race.