He started his academic career as an assistant professor at Stanford in 1966. He joined Carnegie Mellon University faculty in 1969. He was the founding director of the Robotics Institute at the University from 1979 to 1991.
He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 50 years and they have two daughters, Shyamala and Geetha, who live on the West Coast.
Reddy was a co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) from 1999 to 2001. He was one of the founders of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and was its President from 1987 to 1989. He serves on the International board of governors of Peres Center for Peace in Israel. He served as a member of the governing councils of EMRI and HMRI which use technology-enabled solutions to provide cost-effective health care coverage to rural population in India.
Reddy's early research was conducted at the AI labs at Stanford, first as a graduate student and later as an Assistant Professor, and at CMU since 1969. His AI research concentrated on perceptual and motor aspect of intelligence such as speech, language, vision and robotics. Over a span of five decades, Reddy and his colleagues created several historic demonstrations of spoken language systems, e.g., voice control of a robot, large vocabulary connected speech recognition, speaker independent speech recognition, and unrestricted vocabulary dictation. Reddy and his colleagues have made seminal contributions to Task Oriented Computer Architectures, Analysis of Natural Scenes, Universal Access to Information, and Autonomous Robotic Systems. Hearsay I was one of the first systems capable of continuous speech recognition. Subsequent systems like Hearsay II, Dragon, Harpy, and Sphinx I/II developed many of the ideas underlying modern commercial speech recognition technology as summarized in his recent historical review of speech recognition with Xuedong Huang and James K. Baker.
Some of these ideas--most notably the "blackboard model" for coordinating multiple knowledge sources--have been adopted across the spectrum of applied artificial intelligence. His other major research interest has been in exploring the role of "Technology in Service of Society". An early attempt in this area was the establishment, in 1981, of the Centre Mondial Informatique et Ressource Humaine [fr] in France by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and a technical team of Nicholas Negroponte, Alan Kay, Seymour Papert and Terry Winograd. Reddy served as the Chief Scientist for the center.
Since 1995, Reddy and colleagues in China and India have worked on "Universal Digital Library Project". The project is currently attempting to archive 1,000 newspapers for the next 1,000 years and provide online access to UNESCO heritage sites.
His current research centers around "Technology in Service of Society", in particular creating voice only dialog based Apps for tasks such as online shopping and banking, Cognition Amplifiers and Guardian Angels, Digital Democracy, Universal Digital Archive, Voice Computing for the 3B semi-literate populations at the bottom of the pyramid, and KG to PG Micro-Universities.
Awards and honors
His awards and recognitions include the following:
He has been awarded honorary doctorates (Doctor Honoris Causa) from SV University, Universite Henri-Poincare, University of New South Wales, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, University of Massachusetts, University of Warwick, Anna University, Indian Institute for Information Technology (Allahabad), Andhra University, IIT Kharagpur and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
In 1994 he and Edward Feigenbaum received the ACM Turing Award "For pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology".
In 1984, Reddy was awarded the French Legion of Honour by French President François Mitterrand for his contributions as Chief Scientist at "Centre Mondial Informatique" in Paris in the use of "Technology in Service of Society".
In 2001, Reddy was awarded Padma Bhushan, an award given by the Indian government that recognizes distinguished service of a high order to the nation.
In 2004, Reddy received the Okawa Prize for pioneering researches of large-scale artificial intelligence system, human-computer interaction and Internet, and outstanding contributions to information and telecommunications policy and nurture of many human resources.
He received the 2005 IJCAI Donald E. Walker Distinguished Service Award For, "His outstanding service to the AI community as President of AAAI, Conference Chair of IJCAI-79, and his leadership and promotion of AI internationally". He received the IBM Research Ralph Gomory Visiting Scholar Award in 1991.
In 2005, Reddy received the Honda Prize for his pioneering role in robotics and computer science which are expected to be used in the future society for a broad range of applications including education, medicine, healthcare, and disaster relief.
In 2006 he received the Vannevar Bush Award, the highest Award of National Science Foundation in United States, for his lifetime contribution to science and long-standing statesmanship in science and behalf of the nation.