Lenhart Schubert, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, has been named a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.
Schubert graduated from the University of Toronto, where he earned degrees in applied physics and aerospace studies, areas that required heavy numerical calculations. As a result he became interested in computers and their potential for doing reasoning.
"These were the early days of the field of artificial intelligence, and it was very exciting," says Schubert, who has been with the University since 1988. He notes how difficult it is to create a computer that can use ordinary language and do common-sense reasoning.
"There has been rapid progress on what people think of as extremely difficult challenges: building good chess programs, or expert systems for geological prospecting or financial advising.
"But these are much easier than emulating the ordinary capabilities that people have to cope with the world around them and to communicate. Language, for instance, is very subtle and rich, yet we pick it up as children with no apparent effort. The things that seem easiest to people are the ones hardest for computers to learn. That is the most profound challenge." tr Note to editors: Schubert lives in Rochester.