John E. Laird

John E. Laird is John L. Tishman Professor of Engineering in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.

  • Interactive Task Learning

    Humans, Robots, and Agents Acquiring New Tasks through Natural Interactions

    Kevin A. Gluck and John E. Laird

    Experts from a range of disciplines explore how humans and artificial agents can quickly learn completely new tasks through natural interactions with each other.

    Humans are not limited to a fixed set of innate or preprogrammed tasks. We learn quickly through language and other forms of natural interaction, and we improve our performance and teach others what we have learned. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie the acquisition of new tasks through natural interaction is an ongoing challenge. Advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and robotics are leading us to future systems with human-like capabilities. A huge gap exists, however, between the highly specialized niche capabilities of current machine learning systems and the generality, flexibility, and in situ robustness of human instruction and learning. Drawing on expertise from multiple disciplines, this Strüngmann Forum Report explores how humans and artificial agents can quickly learn completely new tasks through natural interactions with each other.

    The contributors consider functional knowledge requirements, the ontology of interactive task learning, and the representation of task knowledge at multiple levels of abstraction. They explore natural forms of interactions among humans as well as the use of interaction to teach robots and software agents new tasks in complex, dynamic environments. They discuss research challenges and opportunities, including ethical considerations, and make proposals to further understanding of interactive task learning and create new capabilities in assistive robotics, healthcare, education, training, and gaming.

    Contributors Tony Belpaeme, Katrien Beuls, Maya Cakmak, Joyce Y. Chai, Franklin Chang, Marc Destefano, Mark d'Inverno, Kenneth D. Forbus, Simon Garrod, Kevin A. Gluck, Wayne D. Gray, James Kirk, Kenneth R. Koedinger, Parisa Kordjamshidi, John E. Laird, Christian Lebiere, Stephen C. Levinson, Elena Lieven, John K. Lindstedt, Aaron Mininger, Tom Mitchell, Shiwali Mohan, Ana Paiva, Katerina Pastra, Peter Pirolli, Charles Rich, Katharina J. Rohlfing, Paul S. Rosenbloom, Nele Russwinkel, Dario D. Salvucci, Matthew-Donald D. Sangster, Matthias Scheutz, Julie A. Shah, Catherine Sibert, Candace Sidner, Michael Spranger, Luc Steels, Suzanne Stevenson, Terrence C. Stewart, Arthur Still, Andrea Stocco, Niels A. Taatgen, Andrea L. Thomaz, J. Gregory Trafton Han L. J. van der Maas, Paul Van Eecke, Kurt VanLehn, Anna-Lisa Vollmer, Janet Wiles, Robert E. Wray III, Matthew Yee-King

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00
  • The Soar Cognitive Architecture

    The Soar Cognitive Architecture

    John E. Laird

    The definitive presentation of Soar, one AI's most enduring architectures, offering comprehensive descriptions of fundamental aspects and new components.

    In development for thirty years, Soar is a general cognitive architecture that integrates knowledge-intensive reasoning, reactive execution, hierarchical reasoning, planning, and learning from experience, with the goal of creating a general computational system that has the same cognitive abilities as humans. In contrast, most AI systems are designed to solve only one type of problem, such as playing chess, searching the Internet, or scheduling aircraft departures. Soar is both a software system for agent development and a theory of what computational structures are necessary to support human-level agents. Over the years, both software system and theory have evolved. This book offers the definitive presentation of Soar from theoretical and practical perspectives, providing comprehensive descriptions of fundamental aspects and new components.

    The current version of Soar features major extensions, adding reinforcement learning, semantic memory, episodic memory, mental imagery, and an appraisal-based model of emotion. This book describes details of Soar's component memories and processes and offers demonstrations of individual components, components working in combination, and real-world applications. Beyond these functional considerations, the book also proposes requirements for general cognitive architectures and explicitly evaluates how well Soar meets those requirements.

    • Hardcover $47.00 £37.00
  • The Soar Papers

    The Soar Papers

    Research on Integrated Intelligence

    John E. Laird, Allen Newell, and Paul S. Rosenbloom

    Soar is a state-of-the art computational theory of the mind that has had a significant impact in both artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Begun by John E. Laird, Allen Newell, and Paul S. Rosenbloom at Carnegie Mellon in the early 1980s, the Soar Project is an investigation into the architecture underlying intelligent behavior with the goal of developing and applying a unified theory of natural and artificial intelligence. The Soar Papers - sixty-three articles in all - provide in one place the important ideas that have emerged from this project. The book is organized chronologically, with an introduction that provides multiple organizations according to major topics. Readers interested in the entire effort can read the articles in publication order, while readers interested only in a specific topic can go directly to a logical sequence of papers to read on that topic. Major topics covered in this volume include: the direct precursors of Soar; the Soar architecture; implementation issues; intelligent capabilities (such as problem solving and planning, learning, and external interaction); domains of application; psychological modeling; perspectives on Soar; and using Soar.

    • Hardcover $199.95
    • Paperback $90.00


  • The Sciences of the Artificial, Reissue Of The Third Edition With A New Introduction By John Laird

    Herbert A. Simon

    Herbert Simon's classic work on artificial intelligence in the expanded and updated third edition from 1996, with a new introduction by John E. Laird.

    Herbert Simon's classic and influential The Sciences of the Artificial declares definitively that there can be a science not only of natural phenomena but also of what is artificial. Exploring the commonalities of artificial systems, including economic systems, the business firm, artificial intelligence, complex engineering projects, and social plans, Simon argues that designed systems are a valid field of study, and he proposes a science of design. For this third edition, originally published in 1996, Simon added new material that takes into account advances in cognitive psychology and the science of design while confirming and extending the book's basic thesis: that a physical symbol system has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent action.

    Simon won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1978 for his research into the decision-making process within economic organizations and the Turing Award (considered by some the computer science equivalent to the Nobel) with Allen Newell in 1975 for contributions to artificial intelligence, the psychology of human cognition, and list processing. The Sciences of the Artificial distills the essence of Simon's thought accessibly and coherently. This reissue of the third edition makes a pioneering work available to a new audience.

    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Second Edition, Volume 4

    An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Second Edition, Volume 4

    Methods, Models, and Conceptual Issues

    Daniel N. Osherson, Saul Sternberg, and Don Scarborough

    The chapters in this volume span many areas of cognitive science—including artificial intelligence, neural network models, animal cognition, signal detection theory, computational models, reaction-time methods, and cognitive neuroscience.

    An Invitation to Cognitive Science provides a point of entry into the vast realm of cognitive science by treating in depth examples of issues and theories from many subfields. The first three volumes of the series cover Language, Visual Cognition, and Thinking.

    Volume 4, Methods, Models, and Conceptual Issues, expands the series in new directions. The chapters span many areas of cognitive science—including artificial intelligence, neural network models, animal cognition, signal detection theory, computational models, reaction-time methods, and cognitive neuroscience. The volume also offers introductions to several general methods and theoretical approaches for analyzing the mind, and shows how some of these approaches are applied in the development of quantitative models.

    Rather than general and inevitably superficial surveys of areas, the contributors present "case studies"—detailed accounts of one or two achievements within an area. The goal is to tell a good story, challenging the reader to embark on an intellectual adventure.

    • Hardcover $23.75 £17.95
    • Paperback $10.75 £9.95