professor of Computer Science and
Engineering and member of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory,
has been named the John L. Tishman Professor of Engineering.
Prof. Laird joined the EECS Department in 1986, after earning his graduate
degrees in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and working in
the Intelligent Systems Laboratory of Xerox PARC. He is an alumnus from U-M,
having graduated with his B.S. degree in Communication and Computer
Prof. Laird is an internationally renowned leader in Artificial
Intelligence. His primary contributions have been in the development,
application, and analysis of a general cognitive architecture called Soar,
with the goal of enabling machines to mimic the range of human-level
intelligent behavior. He developed his ideas to the point where they could
be used for practical applications, leading to his important role in
founding the company Soar Technology, Inc. in 1998.
His current research expands the Soar architecture to include more
human-inspired methods of learning, such as Reinforcement Learning, semantic
learning and memory, episodic learning and memory, visual imagery, and
Students value and enjoy Prof. Laird's classes. He has developed eight new
courses, including the highly successful senior level course EECS 494:
Computer Game Development, which has served as a model for similar courses
across the country. His popular end-of-semester Computer Games Showcase
provided students the opportunity to show their games to fellow students and
the rest of the University community.
As director of the AI Lab between 1994-99, and then as Associate Chair for
the Division of Computer Science and Engineering between 2000-2004, Prof.
Laird provided invaluable service to the Division during years of tremendous
growth in both faculty and student numbers. He then provided important
contributions as a member of the Steering Committee for the new Computer
Science and Engineering Building. He has provided important service to the
University, including serving as co-chair of the Presidential Information
Revolution Committee, serving on the U-M Digital Strategy Council, the
oversight committee for the Center for Information Technology Integration,
and the Provost's Faculty Advisory Committee.
Nationally, Prof. Laird has served as general chair for the 2007
International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM), and the 2006
Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AIIDE).
Most recently, he was the principle organizer behind the highly successful
reunion of computer science and engineering alumni, celebrating 50 years of
computing at Michigan.
He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial
Intelligence (AAAI) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).