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    Research Scientist
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  David J. Atkinson is a Research Scientist in the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Prior to joining IHMC, he worked 20 years at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the lead NASA Center responsible for robotic space exploration missions. Most recently, he was on special assignment at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC where he helped architect and served as the Deputy Program Executive of the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, an element of the NASA's Constellation Program for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Prior to his assignment at NASA Headquarters, he was responsible for JPL's systems engineering contributions to Constellation. He also led a cross-agency NASA team of computer scientists and software systems engineers that provided engineering studies, requirements development and core engineering processes that helped establish the foundations of the Constellation Program. At JPL, his work spanned basic and applied research in artificial intelligence and robotics, resulting in numerous publications and inventions. He was Deputy and Manager (Acting) of JPL's Information Technologies and Software Systems Division, with responsibility for development and operations of mission flight and ground systems as well as institutional IT systems and services. In the formative period ( 1985-1995 ) for NASA intelligent systems and robotics technology, Atkinson supervised programs, research, and development at JPL and partner institutions. He has also participated in mission studies, providing autonomous systems expertise to in support of the proposed Mars Rover Sample Return, Europa submersible and Titan aerobot missions. A notable early contribution by Atkinson was the invention of the SHARP system. SHARP provided intelligent real-time monitoring and diagnosis operations support for deep space robotic spacecraft, such as Voyager, Magellan and Galileo. Many of the techniques pioneered in SHARP are incorporated in JPL's current spacecraft mission operations systems. Now called SHINE after substantial continued development, the system is currently licensed by Caltech to industry, where the technology is being used for space and aeronautic systems, financial market analysis, pharmaceutical production plant monitoring and control, as well as special sensing systems for defense and intelligence applications. Atkinson has received the U.S. Government NASA Exceptional Service Medal as well as numerous NASA Group Achievement Awards, Space Act Awards, and multiple recognitions by the NASA Inventions Board. He is a member of the AAAI, AIAA, AAS, IEEE, and ACM. An entrepreneur, in 1995 Atkinson founded a successful startup which was acquired by IHS (NYSE: IHS) in 2008. PCNAlert.com became the leading provider to the electronics industry of Internet-based component event management data, solutions and applications that enable original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers to proactively monitor and manage the many components that comprise their end products. Atkinson received the Doctor of Technology (D. Tech) in Computer Systems Engineering from Chalmers University of Sweden in GÝteborg, Sweden and was named a Docent in 1992. He was awarded the Master of Science (M.S) and Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) degrees in Computer Science from Yale University (1982, 1983) and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Psychology from the University of Michigan (1980).