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Subject: Tragic News from Everest

Posted by AIAI on 05 June 2005 16:00 GMT+1 20:45 NST

We have received reports via the Liaison Officer and the trekking agency, that Rob Milne, a member of Jagged Globe Everest Expedition 2005 team, died at the altitude of 8450m on the way to the summit of Mt. Everest on 5th June 2005.

EverestNews.com gave an update from fellow climbers who were with him:

Update June 5, 2005: Rob's expedition leader Henry Todd has sent EverestNews.com the following message: Just below the Balcony he suddenly collapsed, and was found to have died instantly of a sudden heart attack. This was confirmed by the 3 doctors we have on the team who were climbing with him. He had had no problems prior to this and it was completely unexpected. All his team are shocked and saddened by this turn of events and they are now descending the mountain to Base Camp.

Mike Fourman, Head of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh said:

We are extremely sad to hear of the tragic death, on Everest, of Dr. Robert Milne. Rob was a pioneer of artificial intelligence applications, creating a successful company based in Livingston. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland's national academy) and engaged with academics across Scotland. He has been a leader of scientific organisations concerned in his field across the UK, Europe and internationally. He will be sorely missed by colleagues in industry and academia alike. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Comment #1
Author: Austin Tate (a.tate@ed.ac.uk) on 05 June 2005 20:00 GMT+1 00:45 NST

We are all shocked and saddened at this news. Rob was always so engaged with everyone he met in the business, academic, and corporate communities he played such an active part in. This included the mountaineering community of course and a challenge he began over 25 years ago to climb the highest peak on each continent.

His colleagues at the University of Edinburgh were assisting Rob by running his expedition web site and blog. We were also receiving regular progress reports from base camp to provide structured reporting against the plans which Rob gave us about his intended progress and milestone achievements during the climb. People across the world have been watching these, and, even on the day of this sad news, people were checking in as we were all so keen to see Rob succeed. This is very upsetting. Rob was doing something he loved.

He will be missed by the international community which he played so vital a part of. Our thoughts are with his family and all the other friends who, along with ourselves, have been so much enriched by knowing Rob.

Comment #2
Author: Kevin Burgum (burgs44@hotmail.com) on 05 June 2005 20:54 GMT+1 01:39 NST

I'm so very sorry to hear the tragic news about Robert's death.

Comment #3
Author: Alan Wilks (agwilks@aol.com) on 05 June 2005 22:02 GMT+1 02:47 NST

May your soul rest in peace and may we all remember a life of extraordinary achievement.

Comment #4
Author: Thomas Besore (thomas@besore.com) on 06 June 2005 03:07 GMT+1 07:52 NST

From an armchair traveler in the USA, may God bless you and your family and the many lives you touched in your explorations. Your adventures reached so many around the globe, ....so many who never knew you, but lived their own adventures through your account. May your final journey be one of peace and rest in Gods love. And to those who follow, let not another day pass without pursuit of a dream. Let celebration of those accomplishments and inspiration of your own lives take precedence over grief.

Comment #5
Author: Ewan Ramsay (ewan.ramsay@thinkengine.co.uk) on 06 June 2005 09:16 GMT+1 14:01 NST

Sorry to hear the tragic news - Rob was a real gentleman and will be a great loss.

Comment #6
Author: Ian Smith (Ian.Smith@epfl.ch) on 06 June 2005 11:22 GMT+1 16:07 NST

Rob, you had the best mix between theory, practice, sport and the rest of life. You have been an inspiration to so many people and I have admired you for years. May you rest in peace.

Comment #7
Author: Ramon Lopez de Mantaras (mantaras@iiia.csic.es) on 06 June 2005 11:50 GMT+1 16:35 NST

Rob was one of the nicest persons I ever met. I had the peasure to closely work with him specially in organizing ECAI'04. My thoughts are now with his family and the other friends. We will miss him!

Comment #8
Author: Marc Eisenstadt (m.eisenstadt@open.ac.uk) on 06 June 2005 12:21 GMT+1 17:06 NST

What a terrible loss - we were following Rob with great interest during this climb for many reasons, and were stunned to hear of his tragic death. He was a leading thinker and do-er, and a great guy too - our hearts go out to all his family and friends.

Comment #9
Author: Janet Thomas (jnt@aber.ac.uk) on 06 June 2005 12:43 GMT+1 17:28 NST

I am completely stunned at this news - Rob was a great guy - one of the nicest I ever met, and an inspiration. I will miss him, as will anyone who knew him. My thoughts are with his family at this awful time - may you gain some comfort from those of us who want you to know how great we thought he was.

Comment #10
Author: Royal Society of Edinburgh (sbrown@royalsoced.org.uk) on 06 June 2005 12:58 GMT+1 17:43 NST

Rob Milne was highly distinguished in his field and was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in 2003. Before setting off on his Everest expedition, Rob invited the Society's Fellowship to propose research work he could undertake while acclimatising at Base Camp and agreed enthusiastically to the studies he was asked to perform - detailed in this Blog. Just before his departure, Rob accepted our invitation to be a Mentor to Enterprise Fellows, a role in which he would doubtless have offered much wisdom and encouragement, imparted with great warmth and humanity. Rob will be much missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, family, friends and colleagues.

Comment #11
Author: Rick Magaldi (rickmagaldi@hotmail.com) on 06 June 2005 13:37 GMT+1 18:22 NST

I was stunned to hear of Rob's death. He became a good friend over the 20 years of our aquaintance, and we shared a lot of enjoyable times, travelling to distant places, talking about our various experiences and dreams. Rob always had a magical touch with others, always able to inspire enthusiasm, loyalty and affection. He will be sadly missed by us all. My condolences to Rob's family, friends and colleagues.

Comment #12
Author: Tony Cohn (a.g.cohn@leeds.ac.uk) on 06 June 2005 13:50 GMT+1 18:35 NST

I have known and interacted with Rob in a variety of settings over the last 20 years including most recently in his role as Local Arrangements Chair for IJCAI-05, which he undertook with the same enthusiasm, professionalism and collegiality as with everything else. It has been a joy to know him and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family.

Comment #13
Author: Craig Colclough (craigcolclough@seznam.cz) on 06 June 2005 14:08 GMT+1 18:53 NST

I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Rob and I hope that his family can take some small comfort from the knowledge that his death will help in the research into mountain safety. Rest in peace, Rob. The mountain winds are with you.

Comment #14
Author: Stefania Tentoni (stefania@imati.cnr.it) on 06 June 2005 14:05 GMT+1 18:50 NST

I am really shocked at hearing about Rob's so tragic death. That surely is a great loss for the scientific community he was part of. My thoughts and sincere sorrow are with his family and close friends.

Comment #15
Author: Malinda (malinda_keith@hotmail.com) on 06 June 2005 14:36 GMT+1 19:21 NST

This is very sad news. It is tragic for Rob's family to lose him from so far away. It is good that he had the chance to experience as much as he did in his life, and to touch the lives of so many people (and tigers). We will all miss him.

Comment #16
Author: Dick Milne (santa.milne@att.net) on 06 June 2005 15:07 GMT+1 19:52 NST

As parents of Rob Milne we appreciate all the many comments you all are expressing, we were very proud of what he was able to do in his short 48 years. We did not know as much about his work, as we should, but please know your many kind thoughts help us also. We know Val, Alex and Rosemary will have had a great loss as have we, and your support of his efforts help a great deal. God bless you all, and love from his parents and Sisters, Diana,Donna and Brother-in-law Jim, to his many friends we never met. Thank you for being a part of his life.

Comment #17
Author: Julia Blackwell (julia@statslab.cam.ac.uk) on 06 June 2005 15:33 GMT+1 20:18 NST

I had been following Rob expedition with great interest and was very shocked to read of his untimely death in the paper this morning, My thoughts are with his family.

Comment #18
Author: John Levine (John.Levine@cis.strath.ac.uk) on 06 June 2005 15:42 GMT+1 20:27 NST

Rob was a great man who lived his life to the full. I had the pleasure of working with him for 3 years in the early 1990s and I will always remember him as someone who was at once both a team member and a leader. I am shocked and saddened at his untimely death.

Comment #19
Author: Ben Kuipers (kuipers@cs.utexas.edu) on 06 June 2005 15:39 GMT+1 20:24 NST

I am shocked and saddened by the news of Rob's death. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones at this difficult time. I have known Rob for 20 years or so, through the qualitative reasoning research community that he was such an important part of. He was a shining light in that community. Of course, he was very smart and had great ideas, but he also had the vision, the optimism, and the determination to put theoretical ideas into useful practice. His enterprises were not only contributions in their own right, they were also an inspiration to others to do likewise. He was a cheerful, delightful person, full of stories. I remember eating and drinking with him at various conferences, but mostly talking and laughing together. There's a lot we don't know about how Rob's spirit lives on: whether it is in our memories and the way he has influenced us, or in some more tangible and individual way. But it does live on. I treasure our time together.

Comment #20
Author: Care for the Wild (info@careforthewild.com) on 06 June 2005 16:33 GMT+1 21:18 NST

All at Care for the Wild International (CFTWI) would like to pass on our condolences to Rob's family and friends. As part of the challenge of climbing Everest, Rob was raising funds to support CFTWI's work with tigers. We were all impressed that even though taking on a challenge such as Everest he had taken time to consider another interest of his and do a little bit of good to help protect these animals in the wild. For that we are grateful and appreciative of his support.

Comment #21
Author: Linda (Lampron@alum.mit.edu) on 06 June 2005 16:44 GMT+1 21:29 NST

I have been numb with shock to read this news about Rob. Rob always spoke so proudly of his children and parents,family. His children meant more to Rob than all of his achievements combined. I am glad both his children were able to share with Rob in his successes in climbing several of the other highest peaks. Rob shared so much of the joy and love in his life and used gentle humor to lift bad situations. I have no words to express my sadness and how much I will miss him. There is a void that is left in the world by his sudden,too soon passing.

Comment #22
Author: David W. Aha (david.aha@nrl.navy.mil) on 06 June 2005 17:09 GMT+1 21:54 NST

This is stunning; Rob was a great AI visionary, contributor, and practitioner whose inspiration, expertise, and good humour touched many. Like so many others, I will dearly miss him and was looking forward to seeing him again in Edinburgh this summer, in part to thank him for his tremendous dedication to our field. My heart goes out to his family and friends at this difficult time. We grieve with you for this wonderful man.

Comment #23
Author: Alan McCullough (alan.mccullough@aeat.co.uk) on 06 June 2005 17:58 GMT+1 22:43 NST

My thoughts go out to Rob's family. Rob had a fantastic capability for innovative thinking and worked hard to apply artificial intelligence techniques in new areas. I much appreciated his willingness to push the limits of the technology and enjoyed listening to him humorously recall the many pitfalls he encountered along the way. The AI community will miss this gentle explorer.

Comment #24
Author: Philip Powell (philip@blencathra.org.uk) on 06 June 2005 19:17 GMT+1 00:02 NST

I only knew Rob through usenet and email but his wise words will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends

Comment #25
Author: Barry Smyth (barry.smyth@ucd.ie) on 06 June 2005 19:39 GMT+1 00:24 NST

This is such tragic and terribly sad news. Rob made a lasting impact on so many of us, it's so difficult to come to terms with this terrible loss. I first met Rob many years ago when I was a young grad student and he remained a great mentor and friend to me since. Indeed my own students have come to know Rob well and respect his advice and support. We will all miss him terribly. The thoughts and prayers of the staff and students in the Department of Computer Science at University College Dublin are with Rob and his family at this time. With sincere sympathy, Barry Smyth University College Dublin

Comment #26
Author: Curly Ross (greatscot1320@blueyonder.co.uk) on 06 June 2005 19:33 GMT+1 00:18 NST

My thoughts also go out to Robs family in Scotland and the States. Rob was a real gentleman and I will miss our chats at the SMC dinners. Rob was also a great friend of Brian Sprunt with whom he climbed the Eiger North face. Its hard to believe they are both now gone. Rob will be greatly missed and the mountains a sadder place. Away ye grey landscapes, ye garden of roses, in you let the minions of luxury roam, and restore me the rock where the snowflake reposes, if still they are sacred to freedom and love. Brave Caledonia, dear are thy mountains, round your white summits, though elements war, though cataracts foamstead, of smooth flowing fountains, I sigh for the valleys of Dark Lochnagar Beannachd leibh, Curly.

Comment #27
Author: Fran on 06 June 2005 20:10 GMT+1 00:55 NST

I 'knew' Rob through uk.rec.walking but never had the chance to meet him. My sincere condolences to his family.

Comment #28
Author: Polly Purvis, ScotlandIS on 06 June 2005 20:44 GMT+1 01:29 NST

To many people Rob Milne was an expert as well as a friend. An international expert in software who bridged the divide between academia and the commercial software community with his continued involvement in new research; an expert fixer in his software business, closing the deals, finding ways through the tough times; and in the mountaineering world, a seasoned mountaineer, ice climber and author. An accomplished speaker, a champion for Scotland and Scottish software, a member of the British Computer Society, Chair of the European Co-ordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence, director of the Scottish Software Federation, judge of the Young Software Engineer awards, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Honorary Doctor of Robert Gordon University, author of Scottish mountaineering books - Rob the expert got about. Whilst Rob had other interests, mountaineering recharged his batteries - many a weekend was spent bagging another Munro or capturing another Corbett and those who worked with him were used to his regular expeditions to all points of the globe where he would carefully combine a conference on the finer points of artificial intelligence with a couple of days on the beach to top up his tan and a stiff climb up some daunting peak. Twice he climbed Kilimanjaro ; last year it was Mount Vinson in Antarctica. This year he set off in April to climb the final peak in that special group of highest peaks on each continent. We all expected him to come back with more stories and fabulous pictures; no-one imagined he wouldn't. Back in Scotland we had been tracking his progress on the web. Whiling away time at base camp whilst the climbing team acclimatised themselves for Everest, Rob sent back his chatty reports for the blog. Over the last few days we waited as the team prepared for the for the final part of the climb. Tragically those high starlit ice fields on the summit of Everest will now be Rob's last resting place; perhaps fitting for a guy from 'wild Montana' who had always found challenge and respite in the world's high places. The thoughts of many in Scotland's software comunity go to his wife and children here in Scotland, and to his parents and family in the States. I hope that by knowing how much he was valued by very many people here in Scotland's software comunity and around the world it will help to lessen their loss, and comfort them in facing the future. We will miss him.

Comment #29
Author: lynn bonallo (lynnbonallo@hotmail.com) on 06 June 2005 00:07 GMT+1 04:52 NST

so shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic news, Rob was so full of life and energetic it is hard to believe he is gone. My prayers and thoughts are with you Val, Alex and Rosemary.

Comment #30
Author: lilly evans (lilly.evans@gmail.com) on 07 June 2005 03:20 GMT+1 08:05 NST

I have met Rob when he first came to UK when we were both young reserachers in AI. It was a real pleasure to renew the contact a couple of years ago. I will always remember his wonderful laugh and great ability to connect with people. In the It community populated by lots of introverts, he really stood out! My thoughth and prayers go to Rob's family, first and foremost. My you all have a long life and keep his shining example alive.

Comment #31
Author: Rick Meinig (meinig@adelphia.net) on 07 June 2005 04:22 GMT+1 09:07 NST

This is my second attempt to post to Rob's BLOG after receiving the shocking news of Rob's sudden death....I'm not surprised that it would take me at least two attempts to catch up with Rob!! He always had a knack for making complex tasks somewhat effortless...I met Rob in the summer of 1975 when I called him based upon a rush letter from Rob's MIT fraternity....He eagerly suggested a trip to Denver and nearby Long's Peak before school began....I became acqainted with a cyclone of energy and enthusiasm in a frenzied weekend of driving, hiking, climbing, hiking, and again driving....It was a pattern that we repeated numerous times while we were both MIT undergrads...I think Rob raised the standard not only for his fellow climbers (while either climbing with Rob or trying to rival him independently!!), but for humanity as well...Rob's passion for the mountains was perhaps second only to his passion for being humaine...He was a renaissance man in its truest meaning...While we remained in contact for these some 25+ years via the yearly Christmas letter and more recently email, we always planned for that future meeting in Colorado....Rob will be missed by many, but he leaves loads of good memories, a great example of the human potential and I certain a wonderful family...My heartfelt thoughts to his immediate loved ones... RickMeinig CO Springs, MIT '79

Comment #32
Author: Elisabetta Nones (elisabetta.nones@unitn.it) on 07 June 2005 07:28 GMT+1 12:13 NST

I have known Rob since I became part of the IJCAI-05’s organizing team. In the short time of our friendship I was able to appreciate his enthusiasm, his liveliness and good heart. When I called him the day before his departure to say good-bye, he was extremely excited and his enthusiasm assured me that he would come back with lots of stories to tell us in Edinburgh at the Conference. As all of his friends, I will miss him. My warmest thoughts go to his family for the tragic loss of their dear husband, father, son and brother. With sincere sympathy, Elisabetta

Comment #33
Author: Derek Bridge (d.bridge@cs.ucc.ie) on 07 June 2005 08:26 GMT+1 13:11 NST

I extend deepest sympathies to Rob's family on behalf of the Irish Artificial Intelligence community. Rob was a friend of Irish AI, supporting us while he was Chairman of ECCAI and we were a fledgling organisation. Many of our members will also have benefited individually from Rob's good sense and great companionship. AI events will be much the poorer without Rob's good humour. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Derek Bridge Chair, Artificial Intelligence Association of Ireland

Comment #34
Author: Peter Duxbury-Smith (pete@intelligent-solutions.ltd.uk) on 07 June 2005 08:48 GMT+1 13:33 NST

Rob has left a life to celebrate and a big gap. It has been a privilege to know him. My thoughts and prayers are with those who knew him better.

Comment #35
Author: Bob Bannatyne (bob.bannatyne@woodgroup.com) on 07 June 2005 08:54 GMT+1 13:39 NST

I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Rob's passing away. My thoughts are with Rob's family at this dark time. I have known Rob for a good number of years and worked closely with him and his team at IA. His natural intelligence and sense of humour will be greately missed. Bob Bannatyne - Wood Group heavy Industrial Turbines.

Comment #36
Author: Jane Morrison (jane.a.morrison@btinternet.com) on 07 June 2005 09:57 GMT+1 14:42 NST

Rob was an inspiration and will be sadly missed. He was also a genuinely interesting, kind and intelligent person. He leaves a very big space in the world. My thoughts are with his family.

Comment #37
Author: Agnar Aamodt (agnar.aamodt@idi.ntnu.no) on 07 June 2005 10:15 GMT+1 15:00 NST

What sad and painful news. A dear friend, an inspiring colleague, and a very fine human being is suddenly gone. Memories of the many meetings and interesting discussions over the years keep popping up. From our first talks in the UK in the late 80s, through his visits to Norway in the mid 90s, and up to our last meeting in Brussels at the end of March this year, just a couple of days before he left for his very last expedition. It was always a true pleasure to meet with Rob, whether the topic was recent developments in model-based and case-based reasoning, or animal life on the African savannah. His vision and creative ideas, coupled with a detailed insight into matters that interested him, always made you take something home from talking to him. That Rob is not around anymore is very hard to grasp. My deepest condolences to his family. May it be of some comfort that the good memories of him will continue to live among all his friends and colleagues.

Comment #38
Author: Daniele Theseider Dupré (dtd@mfn.unipmn.it) on 07 June 2005 10:26 GMT+1 15:11 NST

I admired him for his successful application of the techniques from our field of research, and for the way he was able to mix such a professional success with other good things in life, such as sport and human relationships.

Comment #39
Author: Lorraine McGinty (lorraine.mcginty@ucd.ie) on 07 June 2005 13:32 GMT+1 18:17 NST

I am extremely sad to hear of Rob's tragic death. Rob was a wonderful guy who embrassed life to the full. I regard myself as very fortunate to have known him both professionally and as a friend. In the past year, in particular, he has visited Ireland on a number of occasions and generously volunteered his time and professional expertise. I, amongst many others, enjoyed Rob's company on his recent Dublin visits -- some of the fond memories I will carry with me include, having drinks in the Stag's Head, and the interesting stories he would energetically tell over group dinners, usually after a hard day of research discussion. Last September Rob accepted an invitation to speak at our national Irish AI conference [AICS 2004]. He gave a great talk, and spent a great deal of time chatting with the student attendees (and even brought some of them hiking, for fun, on one of the days he spent in County Mayo!). There is no doubt about it -- Rob has touched lives, and will be fondly remembered by many. My thoughts and prayers will be with his wife, children, parents, relatives and friends. RIP

Comment #40
Author: Zeddy AL-Refai (zedalrefai@yahoo.com) on 07 June 2005 14:05 GMT+1 18:50 NST

I'm truley saddened by Rob's passing. We have summited mt. Vinson 2004 together , we have shared a tent,he was very strong climber and told me so many thrilling stories about all the adventures in the alps. we spoke time to time ,he alway kept me posted.very proud father & husband i'm sure, because of the way he spoke about his kids and thier climbing .I too lost a good fiend.my deepest sympathy. Zeddy AL-Refai ( 1st ARAB(kuwait)on the Everest) www.foreverest.com

Comment #41
Author: Ruth Aylett (ruth@macs.hw.ac.uk) on 07 June 2005 14:13 GMT+1 18:58 NST

A man of terrific energy and accomplishment - a rare example of someone who succeeded in business without ever losing touch with the research community. A man who loved ideas but also climbed mountains, who put up no walls between thinking and doing. He leaves a big gap - most of all for his family, but also to so many others: he gave so much of himself to so many.

Comment #42
Author: Julie (julie.anderson@scotlandis.com) on 07 June 2005 15:53 GMT+1 20:38 NST

Successful People Are Enthusiastic. They're excited by what they're doing, and that excitement is contagious. They draw people to them because these people want to work with them, do business with them, and be with them. Rob achieved many successes - and always with enthusiasm. Brightest Blessings Rob.

Comment #43
Author: Toby Walsh (tw@cse.unsw.edu.au) on 07 June 2005 23:52 GMT+1 04:37 NST

I was very saddened to hear the news. I had been looking forwards greatly to seeing Rob in Edinburgh this August and to celebrate with him two of his dreams coming true: climbing the Big 7 and IJCAI coming to Scotland. He brought energy, laughter and enthusiasm to everything that he did.

Comment #44
Author: Peter Struss (struss@in.tum.de) on 07 June 2005 00:24 GMT+1 05:09 NST

Yes, it is sad. It is sad for us. He certainly was too young to die. But I must say, for me, this all makes sense. It may sound strange, but I think if he could have determined how he would like to die, it would be like this - in a challenge with nature, in living to the extreme, in enjoying our natural world. The main reason why I liked Rob and why we were close, was because of this. Despite all his work, he was searching for this experience of nature, the challenges; he was curious. He LIVED, besides working hard. I feel very related to this attitude. And I think, if he could talk to us, he would say: OK. I knew there was a risk. But I decided to try. I enjoyed the challenge, I was close to the summit, and I failed. That's OK. Don't be sad. If you don't try to explore the world, its beauty, and its challenges, you will have missed something very important. If you tried, you will have received a lot. If you fail at some point, you still have gained the most important, you have lived. You also lose something. But that's OK. That's OK. Rob used these words so often. Even if it is hard for us to accept. Let's say That's OK. Let's learn from Rob's life, not from his death. Peter

Comment #45
Author: Jim Damrau (jdamrau@myawai.com) on 08 June 2005 03:55 GMT+1 08:40 NST

I was very lucky to be part of Rob's life being married into the family. I was always amazed how successful he was in life. A lot it had to do with his determination. His statement to me one day was As long as you put your mind and heart to it anything could be accomplished. Rob was not only successful in business life but was also a loving husband and father.We will all miss him. I remember talking to him in the year 2000 about his life long dream to climb the top 7 mountains in the world. At that time he promised that he would accomplish this goal. In my mind he did just that. He left us completing this dream. As I look at the mountain ranges to the west I'll always remember the great times we had over the past 13 years, God bless and may you rest in peace.

Comment #46
Author: Joerg Neidig (neidig@atp.rub.de) on 08 June 2005 07:53 GMT+1 12:38 NST

I had the chance to meet Rob at DX'04 and I was instantly fascinated by his energy and his enthusiasm. He was one of those persons which try to do everything 110%. He definitely left a lasting impression. He will be missed.

Comment #47
Author: Alan Bundy (A.Bundy@ed.ac.uk) on 08 June 2005 09:55 GMT+1 14:40 NST

I have known Rob since 1978, when he came to Edinburgh to study for a PhD with me. I have been shocked to learn of his death and send my heartfelt condolences to Val, Alex and Rosemary. Rob was a great champion of AI and of bridging the academic and industrial research worlds. He always set himself ambitious goals and by sustained and determined action succeeded in achieving them. He packed 98 years of living into his 49 years of life.

Comment #48
Author: Steve Channon (steve.channon@incaholdingsltd.com) on 08 June 2005 11:26 GMT+1 16:11 NST

From all at INCA Holdings Ltd, espcially Frank, Kevin and myself we send our heartfelt condolances to Rob's family. Although we only knew Rob through our business association with the TIGER software, he was such an easy person to get on with and ready to share his personal experiences of his expiditions during our meetings, that we consider Rob as much a friend as a business associate. He will be sadly missed by us all.

Comment #49
Author: Fernando Pereira (pereira@cis.upenn.edu) on 08 June 2005 17:15 GMT+1 22:00 NST

I was one of Rob's fellow PhD students at the Hope Park Square branch of the AI Department. We both worked on natural-language processing in Prolog. My strongest memories of Rob are his clarity of direction, his ability to set and reach goals, and his amazing energy. While the rest of us slept late on weekends, he was out there climbing everything worth climbing in the Highlands, while still finishing his thesis faster than anyone else. I remember too his account of climbing Denali, going light and fast. It was my loss that I saw Rob just a few times since leaving Edinburgh, none recently. His great professional success is out there to be seen by all of us in AI, but I did not realize until the shocking moment late Sunday night when I read the awful news on CNN.com, that Rob had also a parallel career as an outstanding mountaineer. As an European who moved to America, speaking of an American who built family, home, and business in Europe, I feel that Rob demonstrated the best of the spirit of the American West: daring, self- reliant, goal-directed, open to ideas and people, making every minute count. Rob taught me first about these American values that are often missed in the noise of media and politics. Rob's legacy lives with all of us, in bringing AI to the real world, in the love of mountains, and, not the least, in exemplifying the best traits and impulses that tie Scotland and America.

Comment #50
Author: Bonnie Webber (bonnie@inf.ed.ac.uk) on 08 June 2005 18:59 GMT+1 23:44 NST

I always respected and admired Rob, and remember him being so happy when the book he co-editted on hill walking the Corbetts was finally complete. He said he had walked and checked every route. Rob will be sorely missed.

Comment #51
Author: B. Chandrasekaran (chandra (at) cse.ohio-state.edu) on 08 June 2005 19:34 GMT+1 00:19 NST

What a shock to hear of Rob's death! I knew him from early 80's, when he and Steve Cross were professors at Air Force Institute of Technology in nearby Dayton. He and Steve went to the Pentagon and made waves with AI applications, and Rob and I got together several times after he moved to Edinburgh. As people have remarked, he really was a nice human being, technically accomplished, energetic, inspirational. What a loss to his friends, family and the AI community! Chandra

Comment #52
Author: JIM BODEN (j.boden@rotheradowson.co.uk) on 08 June 2005 20:27 GMT+1 01:12 NST

we were stunned to hear from Valerie the tragic news instead of the achievement we had all been watching for.Office,friends & family had all been following his progress & willing him on to the final summit of the 7.Rob had such a range of activity & success in so many diverse fields,lots of them relatively unknown or remote so far as us derbyshire types are concerned but we could not have been more proud of him.That is reinforced by all these comments which will inspire Valerie,Alex & Rosemary I am sure & comfort his family in USA,our love to them all JIM & WIGGY

Comment #53
Author: Sharifah Mazlina (sharifah@sharifahantarctic.com) on 09 June 2005 06:52 GMT+1 11:37 NST

I am so sad and sorry to hear the tragic news about Rob's death. We are supposed to meet in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) in June or July 2005 when he completed his mission in Everest. We met in Antarctic and become good friend. He is such a wonderful and sincere friend to me. He wanted so much to help me to climb everest by giving me reports and photos when he come back and wanted so much to know more about my recent antarctic expedition especially my book Into the ice. Rob will always remain in my mind and may his soul rest in peace. To all his family members ,i wish you good health and May God bless you all always. Take care.

Comment #54
Author: Colin MacAlpine (colin.macalpine@inovas.co.uk) on 09 June 2005 14:02 GMT+1 18:47 NST

I feel empty. Some people you meet who are larger than life and whom you hit it off with have a special place in your mind/thoughts and Rob was one such person. I really did not see Rob that often but for some reason always felt close. Going to Michaelson Square will never be quite the same.

Comment #55
Author: Charles Freeman (cfreeman@alum.mit.edu) on 09 June 2005 17:39 GMT+1 22:24 NST

Rob was already a living legend at 19 when I met him - his picture on the cover of Appalachia magazine twice in a row for his first winter end-to-end of the Long Trail and new winter first ascent routes on Mt. Katahdin, Maine. He taught the Rock Climbing class at MIT, a subject which I thought I had no interest in (too crazy!) but I had to take, well, because Rob was such a legend! He taught me much more than climbing, he taught me to see beyond myself and learn to find (and go beyond) my personal limits. He also taught me humor in the face of adversity. I can remember struggling up a difficult move (for me) following his rope, only to find a spare finger stuck in a crack just at the crux move. As I oomphed up to his belay ledge, he grinned and said thought you might need an extra. Another time we got rained off a cliff in West Virginia, and he came rapelling past with a shoulder mounted umbrella. Only Rob! He left us far too early, but I'm sure it was the way he would have wanted to go - with his boots on. God bless him, a brother in the bond. Charlie Freeman MIT '80

Comment #56
Author: Junior & Elaine Billstone (juniorb@zianet.com) on 09 June 2005 00:41 GMT+1 05:26 NST

Having known Dr Milne and being very good friends with his Father and Mother in Denver Colorado, we can only say, what a tragic loss at such an early age. May the Good Lord watch over the family who are left. At least his passing came at a time when he was doing something that meant so much to him. We will remember him. Junior and Elaine, Las Cruces New Mexico USA

Comment #57
Author: Richard Benjamins (rbenjamins@isoco.com) on 10 June 2005 13:41 GMT+1 18:26 NST

I just heard the news about Robert's deadth. I worked in the same area as him (model-based reasoning) a long time ago when I was at the Univ of Amsterdam. Though I haven't seen him in more than 12 years, his loss affects me. My warmest regards to his family and friends. -- Richard Benjamins, iSOCO, Spain

Comment #58
Author: Bertrand Braunschweig (Bertrand.Braunschweig@ifp.fr) on 10 June 2005 21:56 GMT+1 02:41 NST

What a shock. I was consulting the blog from time to time, I just discover these very sad news. I have known Rob for 15+ years, will remember him as a great chap and an excellent AI researcher. Please, Rob's family and friends, accept all my sympathy. Bertrand Braunschweig, Paris, France.

Comment #59
Author: Arshad Ali Khan (arshad.khan@attssa.com) on 11 June 2005 08:26 GMT+1 13:11 NST

In the Power Plants of Saudi Arabia, Rob is known as the Tiger Man - for the Tiger software he had developed. I met him in early 2002 - later on, we were to make many trips to different power plants promoting Tiger. What started off as a business relationship, soon turned into friendship, and respect for the man. It was only when I got to know Rob better that I realized he was a much accomplished person. His modesty and friendly nature helped people around him relax, but his professionalism, patience, and attitude generated much respect. He was always willing to look at the brighter side of all challenges - still persevering where others lost stamina, and always adding a little humour to the most irritable situation. We had planned to do some relaxed snorkeling in the Red Sea some time in the future - to check out the Jeddah coral reef. It is a great shock to hear that Rob is no more. He was one of the few genuine human beings I knew. My condolences to his family. Does give me a good feeling though to know his final resting place is high up in the mountains - where he always wanted to be. - Arshad, Jeddah - KSA.

Comment #60
Author: Linda on 12 June 2005 15:56 GMT+1 20:41 NST

Rob said one can live as an example or as a warning. I think Rob would have liked to have people remind themselves to share what they love with their loved ones as an example. I believe Rob would also like his friends and loved ones to get medical checkups as the warning from this. The human heart is the original EverReady Bunny- and that other one- takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Altitude had virtually nothing to do with Rob's death other than he could not receive medical care there nor be rescued. It is a tribute to Rob's fitness that he had got as far as he did. Rob died from a massive heart attack, better understood as Sudden Cardiac Arrest due to atherosclerosis in two major arteries caused by diet, etc. Rob would have had no symptoms. This narrowing of the vessels combined with the adrenalin from the exertion of climbing that exceedingly steep slope led his heart to stop. Had Rob been at a lower elevation when this occurred he likely would have received adequate medical care. Had Rob got a physical exam and asked for an ECHOcardiogram this would have been seen and fixed. A stethoscope won’t hear this and an EKG wont see it unless he had already had a silent heart attack that he ignored. The problem with a silent heart attack is it only gives one sharp pain that can seem like indigestion or muscle strain and goes away shortly, pain Rob would have ignored and mentioned to no one, not knowing any different since as we all know he seemed so fit and healthy. Rob would love for people's lives to be better by learning.

Comment #61
Author: Ailsa McRitchie (ailsa_mac@hotmail.com) on 13 June 2005 06:53 GMT+1 11:38 NST

I would like to start by offering my love and thoughts to Val, Alex and Rosemary at this most upsetting time. I knew Rob through his 2 children as he helped out at Pony Club events and came along to nights out with us. He was such a nice person, a friendly man, a caring man, a funny man and a very interesting man. He had many stories to tell and had many people glad to listen to him. I am at a loss as to what to say as simple words are not enough at this time. All I can say is that Rob Milne will be missed.

Comment #62
Author: John Speakman (nhi158@abdn.ac.uk) on 13 June 2005 12:22 GMT+1 17:07 NST

I never actually met Rob, but in the short time we communicated I was struck by his great enthusiasm and eagerness to do and try new things. He rapidly took on board the idea of measuring his own, and the metabolism of other climbers, on the expedition. The news of his death came as a great shock. I would like to offer my sincere condolances to his wife and children.

Comment #63
Author: Janet Findlay (janet.findlay) on 13 June 2005 16:20 GMT+1 21:05 NST

Rob seems to have been many things to many people. To me he was the guy in the photo on our server with a warning not to let him near it, the guy with the huge mug of tea warndering round the office, he was also the guy I traded insults with but knew I could ask for help a few minutes later confident it would be given. Rob was a great support to all at ScotlandIS and he will be sorely missed. Sincere sympathy to his family here and in the USA.

Comment #64
Author: Cliff Smith (cliffsmith@ukonline.co.uk) on 13 June 2005 20:12 GMT+1 00:57 NST

Deeply shocked by the news of Rob's passing. Scotlands mountains have lost a true friend.

Comment #65
Author: Mike Forsyth (mike@calligrafix.com) on 14 June 2005 16:43 GMT+1 21:28 NST

I met Rob several times over the past twenty years. He was a credit to the Scottish software community and a man that commanded respect in his academic and business spheres. Scotland was lucky that he chose to settle here. His trip up everest was an inspiration to us all and it is so crushing to have it finish on such a sad note - it would be good if the product and research garnered lives on. My thoughts go out to his family at this tragic event

Comment #66
Author: Sandra McRitchie (sandra.mcritchie@tiscali.co.uk) on 14 June 2005 17:19 GMT+1 22:04 NST

We never knew Rob had done so much ! That he had lived life to the full and achieved so much. He was such a modest man. Rob was our Pony Club Games Team 'Equipment Man'. He found ways to do things efficienty and quietly, making the changes without fuss but with humour. All with the aim to improve the performance of the teams. We won't forget his commentry/narration (Along with his friend and long suffering Pony Club Dad and walking companion Bill Taylor) while filming Pony Club Events...precious times for us all, riders, ponies, and parents ! We had great fun watching the films and listening to their comments at the after cometition Pizza parties. We'll miss you Rob but will carry great memories of you with us for the rest of our lives. Your life is an inspiration to us all. Val, Alex and Rosemary, we send heart felt thoughts and support. Sandra & Peter McRitchie xox

Comment #67
Author: Graeme W. Smith (graeme@oxysys.com) on 14 June 2005 19:42 GMT+1 00:27 NST

I was shocked to read of Rob's death at such a young age. I first met Rob when I was working for Logica's AI R&D group in Cambridge, England. He was full of energy and a pleasure to be around. I lost touch when I moved to the US but tried to keep track of IA Ltd. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

Comment #68
Author: Steve Kennedy (nancyk@madasafish.com) on 14 June 2005 21:03 GMT+1 01:48 NST

A nicer guy you couldn't hope to meet. Why is it that those who inspire others are so often taken from us? Always keen to know what you've been up to on the hill and never shouting from the rooftops about his own fantastic achievements. As they say, better to live one day as a tiger than............ Will miss that smile and boundless enthusiasm. Steve K

Comment #69
Author: Des Rubens (d.j.rubens@btopenworld.com) on 14 June 2005 21:21 GMT+1 02:06 NST

Having been in Rob's company on the recent Easter Meet of the Scottish Mountaineering Club at the Dundonnell Hotel in Wester Ross, it was clear that he enjoyed the company of all sorts, including the eccentric and curmudgeonly members of that august body. (They're not all like that, only most of them) Although clearly not a Scottish native, he had become a stalwart of the SMC and his company on these meets was sought out. Had he not been so suddenly taken from us, he might well have evolved into an eccentric old member himself - a very high accolade. We all owe him a debt for the amount of energy he put into club work but most of all we'll miss his enthusiasm and energy for life in general and climbing in particular. I still find it so hard to believe he won't be around to tell us, in his very characteristic manner, about his exploits for the autumn lecture series. We will miss him greatly.

Comment #70
Author: charles everett (cdeverett@aol.com) on 14 June 2005 21:48 GMT+1 02:33 NST

to all Rob's relatives and friends I'd just klike to expess my extreme shock and sadness at learning the news through the rhb egroup of his death on everest. I hadn't spoken to him for a couple of years since lending him my maps of Australias highest peaks for his visit about six weeks after I'd just climbed them in '03. I suppose one has to try and take a smidgen of solace in that he died doing something he was passionate about but it's such a sad shock. Condolences to all those left behind who knew him well. Chales Everett (York)

Comment #71
Author: Hans-Jürgen Bürckert (hjb@dfki.de) on 15 June 2005 09:47 GMT+1 14:32 NST

On behalf of the AI Department of German Informatics society GI/KI and the German AI community I am going to express our deep sadness and shock about Rob Milne's sudden death. One of the great AI experts and early AI pioneers has gone. The AI community has lost a good friend. Our thoughts are with his family. Hans-Juergen Buerckert, Chair of AI Department of German Informatics society

Comment #72
Author: Steve Pardoe (info@pardoe.net) on 15 June 2005 12:38 GMT+1 17:23 NST

I was very sorry when I chanced on the sad news on the BBC website last Sunday evening, 5. June. I never met Rob, but we had exchanged messages on Usenet and by e-mail, and he came across as a very friendly and sympathetic individual. He was kind enough to offer some specific advice to our son, who was climbing Kilimanjaro. For someone whom I barely knew, his untimely death continues to upset me much more than I might have expected. I'd like to offer my sincere sympathy to his family, and all who were fortunate to know Rob better than I did. There was clearly something very special about him. More narrowly, uk.rec.climbing has lost a star. Some of Rob's previous Trip Reports had already been archived to http://www.pardoe.net/climbing/urctrrobm.htm - if anyone can point to more, I'll be glad to add them. Steve Pardoe, Cheshire, UK

Comment #73
Author: Jonathan Harris (jonathan@ycf.co.uk) on 15 June 2005 15:03 GMT+1 19:48 NST

Rob gave a wonderful talk at our conference a couple of years ago (Young Company Finance). The theme of the conference was Doing business in the USA, and Rob was the representative of the other side of the coin - Americans doing business in Scotland. As on every occasion I heard him, Rob not only gave a very informative talk, full of ideas helpful to those Scots looking to do business in the USA, but also added his own special brand of humour. He must have helped dozens of young companies over the years, with advice, information, encouragement, and most of all inspiration. He was one of the best.

Comment #74
Author: Susan Craw (S.Craw@comp.rgu.ac.uk) on 15 June 2005 17:55 GMT+1 22:40 NST

Rob's energy and enthusiasm were unbounded. He inspired all he met, and many value greatly the encouragement and advice that Rob gave so generously. RGU is very proud to have someone like Rob as an honorary graduate. We have lost a good friend and a valued colleague, and hope that our thoughts at this time give Valerie and his family some comfort now and in the future. Susan Craw and Nirmalie Wiratunga on behalf of the staff and students of the School of Computing at RGU, Aberdeen.

Comment #75
Author: Peter Ross (pross@blueyonder.co.uk) on 15 June 2005 18:16 GMT+1 23:01 NST

I was very saddened to hear of Rob's death. Many years ago I bumped into him in the mechanical workshops in the old Department of AI at Edinburgh. He was using the facilities to repair his ice-axe which, as I recall, he had damaged while climbing on the Eiger the week before. We fell to talking abbout climbing and I can still recall with great clarity the passion that lit up his face as he talked about the climbs he had done and his ambition to reach the top of the highest peak on each continent. He was a great inspiration and will be greatly missed.

Comment #76
Author: Jean-Pierre LAURENT (Previous ECCAI Chairman) on 15 June 2005 22:45 GMT+1 03:30 NST

To the family of Rob and to the AI community :

I would only testify that (like many people have) I have been very sad also with the awful information about the terrible news of Rob's accident.

I worked very often with him inside of European Research programs (evaluations, reviewing, etc.). We spent a lot of time in speaking together, especially while waiting our respective flights in a lot of airports, speaking about European policies (moving so much...), about AI applications (because we were both concerned by the urgency of proving the interest of concrete applications, more than by some theoretical and generally superficial theoretical issues). He had the courage to be an industrial pioneer and I was an application-driven university researcher.

So it was natural that we strongly met and exchange..

I have organised IJCAI-93 in France (I can say successfully as well for convivial and financial results).

Then Rob has put to me a lot of questions about how I had managed that, because he wanted to bid for IJCAI in Scotland in 2005.

As I knew its great qualities (at all points, scientific, and financial managing) I have (confidentially) gave to Rob a lot of informations (total confidential budget, (It was a bit no legal and I could have done that for only a very, very small number of persons). I described to Rob the ways I used for obtaining public and industrial subventions, etc.

And I have strongly encouraged Rob to bid and win for IJCAI-2005 in Scotland. I was very glad when he obtained it.

I remember that the year before I organized IJCAI-93 in Chambery, it was absolutely necessary for me to have other goals, especially physic and sporting goals to drain off the pressure... (Personally instead of cycling 5000kms by year I did 15000 between February and July..., despite the work I had to assume).

I did not know that Rob was so passionned by high-level climbing adventures and I hope that he did not project this year more than usually (like I did...). I have not this thought really. I think he could deal with a lot of challenges together, and that he was stronger than me about that.

Anyway, please pass on my real sadness to Rob's family.

Also I am sure that all his colleagues of Scotland will make of IJCAI-2005 the ROB'S SUCCESS.

P.S. I have seen the last volunteer of Rob about tigers (and I am both astonished and not surprised that he could anticipate for such a cause).

Comment #77
Author: Michael Clouser (michael.clouser@gmail.com) on 16 June 2005 18:32 GMT+1 23:17 NST

To Rob's Family: Rob I knew only a short time but he was very inspirational. He was warm, friendly, and generally interested in others including helping the students in our course. This is very sad and I'm sorry. Michael Clouser Course Tutor Edinburgh-Stanford Link School of Informatics University of Edinburgh www.edinburghstanfordlink.org See Rob's slides on our site: www.tech-entrepreneur.org We also have a DVD recording of Rob's presentation in our course that day. He talked through his slides and then facilitated an idea-generation session. Students gave excellent marks to his presentation on course evaluations afterwards.

Comment #78
Author: Janet and George (5thelement@blueyonder.co.uk) on 16 June 2005 20:18 GMT+1 01:03 NST

Our world is blessed by the passing of such a wonderful, thoughtful soul whose care was shown to all, including a lowly cleaner. Heaven, in turn is blessed by your passing on into the light. Our condolences to Robs family and friends, our thanks for having known him.

Comment #79
Author: Cynthia Lynch (cincie@aol.com) on 17 June 2005 05:50 GMT+1 10:35 NST

The number of profoundly moved individuals who have posted condolences tells all we need to know about Rob Milne. In spite of his extensive achievements, he was motivated by giving of himself. He contributed significantly to the spirit, humanity and survival of all of us. I knew Rob as an undergrad at MIT. No surprise, the fraternity he chose as his college home was filled with rock climbers, not social climbers. He was a delightful component of life at Phi Delta Theta. His fraternity brothers, now spread over the globe, are seeking each other out to share their feelings over news of Rob's passing. In reading the postings of Rick Meinig and Charlie Freeman, our voyages with Rob came fresh to my mind and I wish they were within range for something more than a virtual hug. I had not seen Rob since his graduation from MIT and yet the news of his passing was jarring. It is astounding how many people, on many continents, from many periods in his life, share his family’s sorrow. He is clearly still present, though physically lost. I hope his family finds some solace in how inextricably he exists in our hearts. When an individual who gave as much as Rob Milne passes, there is a huge hole for the rest of us to fill. In Rob’s honor, I will rise tomorrow and look for new ways to have a positive impact on the world around me. I wish his family comfort and peace and send blessings to all of you.

Comment #80
Author: Marc AYEL (ayel@univ-savoie.fr) on 17 June 2005 19:43 GMT+1 00:28 NST

I appreciated work with Rob within the ECCAI board. He was always friendly and so fascinated by his work as researcher. I am distressed.

Comment #81
Author: Stephen Cooley (MUST429@aol.com) on 18 June 2005 05:52 GMT+1 10:37 NST

I have known Rob since our teen years. We were active in the Boy Scouts and the Arapahoe Rescue Patrol together. It was Rob that helped inspire me to strive for the rank of Eagle Scout. It was Rob that inspired me to become involved in the Rescue Patrol. It was Rob that taught me a love of Climbing and pushing my physical and mental limits. In short, I am a better person because of the time I spent with Rob. I am sure that is true for many of the young men and women that Rob mentored throughout his life. If memory serves me correctly, my last mission with the Rescue Patrol was with Rob bringing down an injured climber in Deer Creek Canyon. After our high school years together, we took different paths, and although we drifted apart, I too kept up with Rob and his family thru the annual Christmas letters. Rob and his entire family were a positive influence in my life. I have always admired Rob. He has been and will always be an example of hard work, perseverance, and good natured humor. That will never change for me. His memory will always be an example for me to follow. Every time I read the words on the Web log, it shocks me all over again that he is gone. The number of people from all over the world that have posted in this forum is amazing, and yet, having known Rob, it really shouldn't surprise me. He was a man you couldn't help but like from the first moment you met him. In reading the words of others, I felt reconnected with him all over again. Rob was larger than life in so many ways, and yet when you were with him one on one he was a real human being, always interested in your life. He lived life to the fullest and went, I suspect, just the way he would have chosen. Val, Alex, and Rosemary, Mr. and Mrs. Milne, Diana and Donna, your loss is much greater than ours, but all of us that knew him feel your loss and send you our condolences. Hopefully this and all the other postings expressing love and admiration for Rob will help you as you go thru this difficult time.

Comment #82
Author: Douglas Anderson (danderson@optos.com) on 18 June 2005 14:57 GMT+1 19:42 NST

The thing about Rob was he always smiled, he was always pleased to see you, he was never in the dumps, he was always positive and full of ideas. I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. When he came back to Scotland to marry Val and start in business he asked me (as a local person who had done some start ups and had experience of raising money for risky projects) for some advice I told him be prepared for a big struggle and a lot of rejection. Two weeks latter he had the funds to get going from the first venture firm who's door he entered. Such was the strength of Rob's personality and conspicuous honesty.

Comment #83
Author: Rosemary Gilligan (r.e.gilligan@herts.ac.uk) on 20 June 2005 13:11 GMT+1 17:56 NST

I have read some magnificent tributes to Rob, and feel very proud and privileged to have known him, There is little more that I can add. He was involved in so many different communities, but you never felt that he was not fully committed to the one through which you met him, every one saw the best of him. I will miss his sense of humour and adventure.

Comment #84
Author: Linda (lampron@alum.mit.edu) on 20 June 2005 16:17 GMT+1 21:02 NST

May Rob's soul find love, peace and joy at last and gently bestow that on the people he loved and whose lives he touched.

Comment #85
Author: Ramasamy Uthurusamy (samy@gm.com) on 20 June 2005 21:34 GMT+1 02:19 NST

I am unable to attend today's memorial service to Rob, Through this blog, I would like to express again my heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Rob's Family and Friends. I will miss him a lot. For the past few years I have had pleasant interactions with Rob regarding IJCAI-05 conference and was looking forward to our joint work at Edinburgh at the end of July. It has been very difficult to bear the sad news ever since I was informed on June 5. IJCAI organization as a whole has been saddened by this and is struggling to cope with the terrible loss. IJCAI is grateful for all his efforts related to IJCAI-05. All the tributes to Rob are well deserved and speak to the fact that Rob was a woderful human being and we are all enriched by our interactions with Rob. We all will miss him very much. My thoughts are with Rob's Family and Friends. -- samy

Comment #86
Author: Dick Milne (santa.milne@att.net) on 23 June 2005 03:56 GMT+1 08:41 NST

Dorothy and I are back in the US, after a long day and one of the first things we wanted to do was to thank all those who helped plan, speak or in any way worked on the Memorial Service. Everything went well and we shall have many memories to share with others. We appeciate all those who attended, and also shared with us after the service.We were proud of him, and all your comments have helped us know more about him. We know Val, Alex and Rosemary appreciate what you all did. They will need continued support and help, and we trust it shall be given. Even though we spoke only briefly to those who attended. your being there was very helpful and the many comments you have shared will always be a part of our memory to this occasion. Thank you all.

Comment #87
Author: Evelyn (ecathalin@eircom.net) on 23 June 2005 16:00 GMT+1 20:45 NST

I was away when I heard the tragic news of Rob's death, An inspiration to us all, an incredible character whom I wished I had met.

Comment #88
Author: Pete Edwards (pedwards@csd.abdn.ac.uk) on 27 June 2005 09:27 GMT+1 14:12 NST

I write this on behalf of my colleagues in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Aberdeen. Rob worked with us in a number of capacities over many years, and made a real and lasting contribution to the work of the Department. Through his enthusiastic input to research projects and our industrial liaison committee, Rob energised staff and students alike. He will be greatly missed by us all. The following words were posted on the Computing@Aberdeen home page immediately after the sad news of Rob's loss: In Memoriam Dr Rob Milne (1956 - 2005) We are enormously saddened to hear of the loss of Rob Milne, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Computing Science, who died while climbing Everest on June 5th. Rob was our close colleague for many years through research collaborations; in addition, he often provided advice on industrial liaison and curriculum matters. His death is a great loss to the international artificial intelligence community. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Comment #89
Author: Henri Prade (prade@irit.fr) on 27 June 2005 12:56 GMT+1 17:41 NST

I never had the opportunity to work with Rob Milne, but I met him in several meetings in the last twenty five years, and I was always deeply impressed by his dedication for putting AI in practice and for serving the AI community by his great involvment in its life. I will keep the souvenir of an extremely nice and positive person. His sudden death is a terrible lost.

Comment #90
Author: grahame nicoll on 28 June 2005 21:19 GMT+1 02:04 NST

I knew Rob as a climber. I first met him in the late 70's and shared some winter climbs with him in the 80's, joined him on his last Munro (the wee Buchaille) and would sometimes bump into him at the climbing wall. More recently we'd been in contact through the SMC Publications Committee. I was very sorry not to be at Rob's memorial service but he was in my thoughts on the hill that day. His enthusiasm, humour and warm nature will be sorely missed. Grahame Nicoll, Dunkeld

Comment #91
Author: Faye Mitchell (frmitchell@brookes.ac.uk) on 29 June 2005 13:05 GMT+1 17:50 NST

I first met Rob when I had the honour of having him for my industrial supervisor for my PhD. He was a man who was passionate about AI and he had a way of making his passion rub off on others. His talent for marrying research and academia with business was unmatched and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family and colleagues at this time. Faye Mitchell, Oxford Brookes University

Comment #92
Author: Dickie Armour (rich@richardarmour.co.uk) on 07 July 2005 17:50 GMT+1 22:35 NST

I met Rob once this Feb at a ScotlandIS meeting in Edinburgh during which Rob spoke about selling to an International market. It was a brilliant presentation and his style and character were immediately captivating. We only spoke briefly but he left a lasting impression on me, so when a friend and colleague informed me of his passing, I was deeply shocked and upset. My thoughts go to his family and friends and may he rest in peace.