In some ways this file is superseded by the file My Doings.
Since about 1970 I have been working on philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophical implications of Artificial Intelligence, architectures for human minds and other minds, the architecture of a visual system, analysis of attention, motivation, emotions and related affective states; the uses of computers in education, the design of friendly programming environments and languages, design of a powerful toolkit to support exploration of agent architectures.

Recent slide presentations on my work can be found here:

A book I published in 1978 (The Computer Revolution in Philosophy) which set the agenda for much of my subsequent research has gone out of print, but is freely available online now:

For about 10 years between about 1981 and 1991, while I was at Sussex University, I managed the development of Poplog, a multi-language interactive software development environment. This included helping to design and implement the core language Pop11, a Lisp-like language with a syntax more like Pascal used for teaching and research in AI. It is the basis of the Sim_agent toolkit, mentioned below. Poplog is now available free of charge with full system sources.

Adrian Howard, at Sussex University, has provided information on Pop-11.
Further information on Poplog and its languages (Pop-11, Prolog, Common Lisp, Standard ML) is available here:

In the last few years I have been working on the following topics:

1. High level requirements for the design of a `complete' autonomous intelligent agent (one that has its own desires, and is capable of having emotions, attitudes, moodes, etc.), along with partial specification of an architecture meeting those requirements. This is the cognition and affect project.

I am currently developing (with colleagues) a prototype flexible toolkit for exploring a range of experimental agent architectures, the SIM_AGENT package. This is being used both for work here (with colleagues and research students) and for a project at DERA Malvern on training software for novice commanders.

2. Analysis of the implications of such architectures for explaining high level affective mental states and processes, such as moods and emotions. This is part of a more general attempt to understand how to think of a mind as an information-based control system. (Several papers on this topic are available in the Cognition and Affect directory , and in my "miscellaneous papers" sub-directory.

3. Analysis of relations between the concepts of "computation", "mechanism" and "representation" and their relevance to explaining mental states and processes.

This is one of the themes of the IJCAI'01 tutorial on Philosophy and AI presented with Matthias Scheutz, described here

4. A high level overview of the purposes of vision, some design requirements and constraints, and a sketch of an architecture. There are several papers on this in the Cogaff directory

5. As mentioned above, while at Sussex University, I designed and implemented some parts of the POPLOG system and managed its development. I still work on it locally at Birmingham. Our extensions to the Poplog libraries can be seen in the free poplog directory.

6. I have been involved in work on requirements for tools for designing interfaces, including a collaborative project with Sussex, Integral Solutions Ltd and BMT Ltd between 1990 and 1993. This led to a number of enhancements of Poplog, including new object oriented and graphical facilities.
My RCLIB package, now part of the Free Poplog distribution directory, was partly inspired by work on that project.

7. I have worked on interactive `student-driven' environments for learning and teaching about Cognitive Science and AI, and and have been extending this work since coming to Birmingham. This includes designing and implementing RHM, the Recursive Hypermenu System, now used for starting off new Poplog users at Birmingham. I have also produced a large number of "teach" files based on Pop-11, for use by beginners and advanced students in finding out about AI and programming techniques. Many of these are available online in the Birmingham Poplog "teach" directory, and other directories in the Poplog web site, including the Pop-11 primer
the RCLIB teach files
the SimAgent teach files the Poprulebase teach files.
The recursive hypermenu system based on RCLIB

8. I have ideas about `usability' and think that there are many errors in current designs of interactive computing systems because they fail to take account of (a) the complex cognitive processes involved in interacting with a computer (e.g. concept formation, visual parsing, planning), (b) huge variability between different users and within the same user over time, (c) the ways in which requirements can change while a system is in use, (d) differences between the processes involved in learning to use a new complex system and those involved in using it when one is a fluent, expert user.
The same is true of many programming languages designed by mathematical computer scientists, with no regard for cognitive processes in learners or users.)

9. I was, for a while involved in a project on designing methodologies and tools for Risk Assessment and Risk Management, in collaboration with Alexander and Alexander. The project manager and main project initiator is Sophia Langley
This project, RATIFI (pronounced "ratify") was concerned with Risk Analysis Techniques in Finance and Insurance. It was funded by EPSRC as part of the Safety Critical Systems (SCS) initiative, though it is not directly concerned with safety in the conventional sense.
(Professor Peter Jarratt took over my share of this project in December 1994).

Most of my recent research papers are in the Cognition and Affect Project Directory.

Various additional discussion notes can be found in my "misc" directory

Slides for some recent invited talks can be found here:

See also the Web pages for the CoSy robotics project

Maintained by Aaron Sloman. Last updated: 1 May 2006