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Daniel Lee: Evan C Thompson Professor
October 21, 2008, Volume 55, No. 9



Provost Ronald J. Daniels and Associate Provost for Education Andrew Binns announced the appointment of Dr. Daniel Lee as the second Evan C Thompson Endowed Term Professor for Excellence in Teaching, effective July 1, 2008. Dr. Lee is currently associate professor in the departments of electrical & systems engineering and bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

He joined the Penn faculty in 2001, after six years in the theoretical physics and biological computation departments of Bell Labs. His research focuses on improving the speed and efficiency with which computers and other artificial systems process information, in part by using biological systems as a model for artificial, real-time, intelligent robotic systems that can learn from experience.

He has taught Electrical Circuits and Systems I (ESE 215), Digital Signal Processing (EE 531), and Learning in Robotics (ESE 650), among other courses, and has conducted research in Penn’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab. 

In 2006, he received a Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, (Almanac April 11, 2006)  Penn’s highest university-wide teaching award. In nominating him, several students described him as one of the most compelling and engaging teachers they had encountered at Penn. One said, “He has in a true sense been a guru for me, one who shows the path towards light and success and also helps in attaining it.”

His educational impact reaches beyond the classroom and includes advising a large number of design projects, many of which have won departmental and school honors. He also leads Penn’s legged robot soccer team, the UPennalizers, in the annual Robocup competition, an international joint project to promote artificial intelligence, robotics, and related fields.

Dr. Lee earned a PhD in physics (1995) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an AB in physics (1990) from Harvard University. 

Evan Thompson, W’64, endowed the Thompson Professorship in 2003 to recognize teaching excellence. The first Evan C Thompson Professor was Dr. Dennis DeTurck, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (Almanac March 23, 2004), whose three-year term ended in spring 2008.

Almanac - October 21, 2008, Volume 55, No. 9