University of Rochester

Professor Receives Artificial Intelligence Research Appointment

August 28, 2001

Henry E. Kyburg, Jr., Burbank Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, has received a five-year part-time appointment as a research scientist on artificial intelligence at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

Kyburg will be continuing his studies of uncertain inference, which is the human process of reaching conclusions, and data mining, the process by which computers search for information in data or draw conclusions from it.

Though machines can analyze data faster and more efficiently than people, they don't have the human ability to make inferences or decisions using intuition, which comes naturally to humans.

Kyburg is exploring whether reasoning can be formalized and incorporated into artificial intelligence systems to be used in data mining.

"Some people think that learning from data requires intuition and a type of creativity that robots don't seem likely to have," he says. "I think some things need creativity, and some don't."

He adds, "I see uncertain inference as a matter of logic rather than just intuition."

In his forthcoming book from Cambridge University Press, Uncertain Inference, Kyburg and co-author Choh Man Teng describe and explore the different approaches to dealing with the problem of uncertain inference in developing artificial intelligence.

Kyburg will continue to teach in the philosophy department and in the computer science department at the University of Rochester during his five-year appointment.

The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, located at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, conducts interdisciplinary research for private and government organizations. Ongoing projects at the institute include issues in artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, and computers in education. Its focus is using computers as prosthetic aids to human abilities.