The History of CIM
The Centre grew out of a research collaboration between Engineering Professors working on Machine Perception and Computer Vision. Initial funding came from the Federal Government of Canada via NSERC.
In 1981, two of these researchers, Martin Levine and Steve Zucker, along with Systems Theory specialists, Pierre Belanger, Peter Caines and George Zames, were selected by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) to constitute one of the three nodes of its program in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. These players were pivotal in defining the interactions that bring about the Centre for Intelligent Machines.
CIM was formed in 1985 when these four researchers from Electrical Engineering decided to unite with a common theme - the study of intelligent systems. In order to achieve their goal of interdisciplinary collaboration, they invited researchers from Mechanical, Biomedical and Mining & Metalurgical Engineering and from the School of Computer Sciences to join them. The centre's original name was McRCIM: the McGill Research Centre for Intelligent Machines.
A grant from the Quebec Ministere de l'Enseignement Superieur et de la Science (MESS) was critical to the Centre's inception and early growth. This in turn resulted in the University's budget providing CIM with four new faculty positions in 1990. Since 1989, infrastructure funding has been provided by Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide e la Recherche (FCAR).
The mission statement of the Centre expresses our goals of excellence in research and graduate student education:
Intelligent machines are capable of adapting their goal-oriented behaviour by sensing and interpreting their environment, making decisions and plans, and then carrying out those plans using physical actions. The mission of CIM is to excel in the field of intelligent systems, stressing basic research, technology development and education. The members of CIM seek to advance the state of knowledge in such domains as -- robotics, design, artificial intelligence, computer vision, medical imaging, haptics, systems and control and ultravideoconferencing.
More and more this is being achieved by collaborative efforts involving researchers with very different interests. Therefore we see that the original objective of forming the Centre to encourage interdisciplinary activities which transcend the traditional departmental boundaries is being attained.