Professor John Laird has been
honored as a Cognitive Science Society Fellow in recognition of his sustained contributions to the field of Cognitive Science. The Cognitive Science Society promotes scientific interchange among researchers in disciplines comprising the field of Cognitive Science, including Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Anthropology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Education.
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.