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STANFORD -- Edward A. Feigenbaum, professor of computer science at Stanford University, has taken a two-year leave of absence that started Sept. 1 to serve as chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force.
He is the first information scientist to hold this post, which advises the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff on scientific and technological matters, participates in the work of the Air Force's science advisory board, serves as a liaison with the Air Force's research laboratories, and acts as a high-level scientific emissary between the air staff and the aerospace, computer and communications industries, as well as the major research universities. As part of the job, he will be spending much of his time visiting Air Force sites around the country and the world.
"The Air Force is very technical. The view of applied science and technology that one gets in this position is positively breathtaking," Feigenbaum says.
According to the scientist, the Air Force is very interested in better ways to utilize information science in its operations. Some examples of the issues that he will be investigating are how the cockpit can be improved by information technology; possible improvements in Air Force information systems for intelligence, command and control; and information-based warfare.
Feigenbaum is not the first Stanford faculty member to hold this post. In the mid-1960s, aeronautics and astronautics Professor Robert H. Cannon served in the position.
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