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USC Professor Honored for Artificial Intelligence Research

USC Professor Honored for Artificial Intelligence Research
Paul Rosenbloom is building the next generation of virtual human architecture – sort of a brain for computer-driven characters.

Paul Rosenbloom, professor of computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and project leader at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), received the Kurzweil Prize for Best Artificial General Intelligence Idea at the fourth conference on artificial general intelligence held in August.

The prize recognized Rosenbloom’s pioneering work toward building computer systems that can behave like people in how they make decisions and solve problems.

Artificial general intelligence, or AGI, refers to the design of systems that can emulate full-range human intelligence as opposed to artificial intelligence systems that focus on modeling narrow or specific functions like generating speech, acquiring language or planning actions.

“Significant progress has been made in many individual areas since the founding of AI, but such progress by itself doesn’t yield human level intelligence,” Rosenbloom said. “AGI represents a return to this original vision of AI.”

Rosenbloom leads such an effort at ICT, where he is building the next generation of virtual human architecture – sort of a brain for computer-driven characters – that should enable them to behave appropriately when combined with the proper knowledge and skills. ICT is a leader in research and development of virtual humans, and it is hoped that Rosenbloom’s new architecture – when combined with other developments at ICT and elsewhere – will lead to more human-like systems.

Potential applications could include more intelligent virtual humans, robots and agents – virtual negotiation partners, for example, that learn from their mistakes, react to current situations and alter their behaviors depending on past and present interactions.

“The goal is to integrate all the mechanisms for thought, language, speech and motor control into a single system that can learn from experience,” he said. “Usually when you add functionality in architectures, you add complexity. My work is trying to simplify the process with an architecture that combines elegance with generality.”

Rosenbloom’s winning idea is explained in his paper “From Memory to Problem Solving: Mechanism Reuse in a Graphical Cognitive Architecture,” which he presented at the conference on general artificial intelligence.

The award is sponsored by the group KurzweilAI, which is devoted to promoting work of and inspired by noted American futurist Raymond Kurzweil. In awarding the $1,000 prize to Rosenbloom, the committee cited the work as representing “a very interesting and valuable research direction” and “a wonderful example” of the type of work that explores “the extent any single mechanism can be used to achieve all the capabilities needed for human level AGI.”

Rosenbloom began his work toward virtual human architectures in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University. He continued that work as a professor at Stanford University. He joined USC in 1987 and wrote the initial proposal for bringing ICT to USC in 1999.

During his tenure at USC, he served in various capacities at the university’s Information Sciences Institute. He currently is writing On Computing: A Relational Approach to the Fourth Great Domain of Science, a book to be published by MIT Press.

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USC Professor Honored for Artificial Intelligence Research

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