John Laird Named AAAS Fellow

Prof. John Laird Enlarge
Prof. John Laird

John E. Laird, the John L. Tishman Professor of Engineering in the EECS Department, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.

Prof. Laird’s major research interest is in creating human-level artificial intelligent entities, with an emphasis on the underlying cognitive architecture. A major challenge is to create systems that can work on a broad range of problems, using a wide variety of methods, knowledge, and learning techniques. As part of his research, he studies both artificial and natural intelligence.

Since 1981, his work has centered on the development and use of Soar, a general cognitive architecture. Over the years, this has led to research in both AI and cognitive science. Within AI, his work has included research in general problem solving, the genesis of the weak methods, the origins of subgoals, general learning mechanisms, interacting with external environments, learning by experience and by instruction, and integrating reactivity, planning, and learning, all in the service of constructing complete autonomous intelligent agents. Within cognitive science, his early research concentrated on detailed modeling of human behavior, and his current work is primarily on high-level cognition. He is working to extend Soar to include reinforcement learning, episodic memory, semantic memory, clustering, mental imagery, and emotion-inspired processing.

Prof. Laird holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He was a research staff member at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from 1984 to 1986, and joined the Michigan faculty in 1986. He is a founder of Soar Technology, an Ann Arbor company specializing in the creation of autonomous AI entities. He is a Fellow of AAAI, ACM, and the Cognitive Science Society.

About the AAAS and the AAAS Fellows Program

Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals.

The AAAS Fellows Program dates back to 1874, with fellows elected by peer AAAS members and chosen because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

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