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Shimon Whiteson

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Computer Scientist

I am an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, and a tutorial fellow at St. Catherine's College.

My research focuses on artificial intelligence. My goal is to design, analyse, and evaluate the algorithms that enable computational systems to acquire and execute intelligent behaviour. I’m particularly interested in machine learning, with which computers can learn from experience, and decision-theoretic planning, with which they can reason about their goals and deduce behavioural strategies that maximise their utility. In addition to theoretical work on these topics, I have in recent years also focused on applying them to practical problems in robotics and search engine optimisation.

I studied English and Computer Science at Rice University before completing my doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.  I then spent eight years as an Assistant and then an Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam before joining Oxford as an Associate Professor in 2015.  I was awarded an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council in 2014 and a Google Faculty Research Award in 2017.

Monday 18th Jun 2018, 02.45pm

How do you teach a robot social cues?

Robots already perform many traditionally human tasks, from vacuuming to surgery—and they could soon help care for the sick and elderly. But until they can convincingly mimic emotions, their caretaker value will be severely limited. In an effort to create “friendlier” machines, researchers are developing robotic helpers that can better read and react to social signals.

How do you teach a robot social cues?