Kanna is a International Chair Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology and a Visiting Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Univ. of Porto affiliated with the Underwater Systems Technology Lab. Till 2013 he was the Principal Researcher in Autonomy at MBARI which he joined in 2005. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Scientist for the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Area at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
His focus is on Marine Robotic Sampling focused on building sustainable and cost-effective tools, techniques and processes for climate change studies bridging science, engineering and methods. At NASA Ames, he balanced programmatic and technical responsibilities. He was the Principal Investigator of the MAPGEN Mixed-Initiative Planning effort to command and control the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the surface of the Red Planet. MAPGEN continues to be used to this day, in the mission-critical uplink process at JPL and is the longest running AI system in the world. Kanna was one of the six principals of the Remote Agent Experiment (RAX) team, which designed, built, tested and flew the first closed-loop autonomous system on a spacecraft 65 Million miles from Earth. RAX was the co-winner of NASA's 1999 Software of the Year award, the agency's highest technical award.
His interests are in automated Planning/Scheduling, modeling and representation for real world planners and agent architectures for Distributed Control applications. Prior to joining NASA Ames, he was in the doctoral program at the NYU Courant Institute of Math Sciences. Prior to that he was at the Knowledge Systems group at American Airlines, helping build a Maintenance Routing scheduler (MOCA), which continues to be used by the airline, 365 days of the year.
Kanna is the recipient of two NASA medals for his role on the Remote Agent and on MER. He was the Co-chair of the 2005 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), Monterey California and the chair of the Executive Board of the International Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space. He continues to serve on review panels for NASA, the Italian Space Agency and European Space Agency, the European Commission and the US National Science Foundation (NSF).