CCP Research Group


  • Rohini Katla (Programmer, Lead Designer)
  • Andy Schmidgall
  • Bob Arrigo
  • Dr. Joaquin Vila (Faculty Advisor)
  • Dr. David L. Anderson (Faculty Advisor)

Present Research Project

Rohini Katla, a grad student at ISU, is creating a new CCP for her Masters Project. The new CCP will be debuting in the Fall of 2003.

Learn more about this version of the CCP!

For other documents related to the design of past and present CCP programs, see the CCP Overview page.

Past Research Projects

Summer of 2002

Note: This project has turned into Rohini Katla's CCP program.

The primary objective of this group was to design and write the artificial intelligence program(s) that provide the 'central control' for our artificial person (robots and virtual persons). Our current focus is to create a mobile robot that is controlled by a single CPU running Windows. The first step is to create a communication program that will allow all of the elements of the robot -- AI engine (ProtoThinker or "PT" for short), text-to-speech program (Lucent Technology), robotic arm (Robix RCS-6), robotic wheels, video camera & neural net software -- to communicate with one another. To begin with, most of the "executive functions" of the robot will be controlled by a single AI engine (ProtoThinker). The CCP program will primarily facilitate communication between PT and the input and output devices that it needs to control.

Later, down the road, we will add other AI engines to ProtoThinker and then the CCP will need to perform more "executive control" functions. For example, with several different AI engines available, how does the robot "choose" which is the right engine for the job? At that point, the CCP will have to function as a kind of "meta-level" controller, determining which AI engines are assigned to which tasks.

Our first robot

Our first robot, Iris.1, didn't even have a Central Control Program. There was only one AI program, John Barker's ProtoThinker software, and with a few changes in that software we were able to cobble the robotic arm and TTS program directly onto the ProtoThinker software. But with Iris Series 2, the robot was too complex for that. And we were also developing our first virtual person at that stage, Virtual Cyd, and we also needed a central program for that project. Matt Carlson wrote the CCP-1, the first Central Control Program. Matt Carlson and Paul Romanelli also wrote a Report describing the requirements of the program and its design.

Original Central Control Program (CCP1) by Matt Carlson, 1997

We are grateful for all of the hard work that Matt Carlson has done on the Mind Project.

Student Members

Student Director: Matt Eisenbraun

Matt Eisenbraun is heading up the "Iris3: Mobile Robot" project. He has primary responsibility for the central control program. In the summer of 2000, Iris3 will use Illinois Wesleyan's SIE program. Eventually, we will design a new central control program for our robots.

Past Student Directors:

  • Steve Kacsmark


    In 1999, Steve Kacsmark took over leadership of the central control program group. Steve is presently working on a design plan for a second, more ambitious program that will make our artificial persons considerably more powerful and more versitile. Steve is looking for computer programmers who would like to help design and program the Mind Project's most sophisticated piece of software. Steve will also be graduating in May, so we are looking for new blood and new leadership in the group. Read about the design plan below and sign up to help.

  • Matt Carlson

    The Central Control Program group was started by Matt Carlson in 1996. Matt wrote our first central control program which controls the Iris.2 robot and Virtual Cyd our animated artificial person. While Matt now lives in California (and writes Linux computer game programs for a company) he still consults on the project.

  • Faculty Advisor(s)

    Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mary Elaine Califf (

    Mary Elaine Califf, Assistant Professor of Applied Computer Science at Illinois State University, is faculty advisor for the Central Control Program Group. Her research areas are natural language processing and machine learning and she will be advising the development of the next version of the central control program.

    Past Advisor: Paul Romanelli

    The first advisor on the Central Control Program Group was not, in fact, a 'faculty' member at all. It was Paul Romanelli, a Ph.D in Physics from Yale who was living in Bloomington, Illinois at the time and working as a consultant for a bank on the East coast. Paul worked with Matt Carlson on the design of the program and on the documents (see below) describing the project. Paul is one of many people in the private sector who have unselfishly given many hours of their time to the Mind Project.

    Schedule of Group Meetings

    There is no regularly scheduled time for meetings. If you want to join the team, contact Dr. David Anderson (