Austin Tate - Biography

Austin Tate Austin Tate is Director of the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI) and holds the Personal Chair of Knowledge-Based Systems at the University of Edinburgh.

He helped form AIAI in 1984 and since that time has led its efforts to transfer the technologies and methods of artificial intelligence and knowledge systems into commercial, governmental and academic applications throughout the world. Prof. Tate first began studies in computing at evening class in Leeds in 1967. He graduated with First Class Honours in Computer Studies from the University of Lancaster in 1972, work which involved an undergraduate project on Graph Traverser search in which he collaborated with Prof. Donald Michie in Edinburgh. Prof. Tate received his Ph.D. in Machine Intelligence at Edinburgh in 1975 having been supervised by Prof. Michie, whose was a code-breaker and early computer pioneer colleague of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park.

Prof. Tate is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland's National Academy) and Fellow of a number of organisations: the Association for the Advancement of AI, European AI, the British Computer Society, the British Interplanetary Society and the International Workflow Management Coalition. He is a professionally Chartered Engineer. He is a Senior Visiting Research Scientist at the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Florida.

Prof. Tate has a background in data bases and software engineering. He led the team which designed, delivered and maintained the Fortran Interface to the commercial IDMS data base system in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, he established the University of Edinburgh's microcomputer, office systems and personal computer communications support team at the Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre.

Prof. Tate is an international authority on Knowledge-Based Planning and Activity Management Systems and is involved with industrial and governmental organisations deploying AI technology in the UK, Europe, Japan and the USA. He has been engaged with a number of standards activities including working with the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on process specification languages and work on the W3C Ontology Web Language for Services (OWL-S). He provides technology foresight support to a number of organisations.

He pioneered the early, now widely used and deployed, approaches to hierarchical planning and constraint satisfaction in the Interplan, Nonlin and O-Plan planning systems. His early planning work on Nonlin is used as a basis of text book descriptions of hierarchical task network planning, and for algorithms to establish the truth of a proposition at some point in a partially ordered network of nodes (the modal truth criterion). Nonlin was used as a basis for an early AI planner at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. O-Plan provided the core design for the Optimum-AIV planner used for assembly, integration and verification of Ariane rockets for the European Space Agency.

Prof. Tate's research interests are in the use of rich process and plan representations along with tools that can utilize these representations to support task planning and process management. His work called "I-X" is more concerned with supporting collaboration between human and system agents to perform cooperative tasks.

O-Plan and I-X/I-Plan planning and activity management research has been supported for a long period by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the US Air Force Research Laboratory (Rome, NY), the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the UK Defence Science Technology Labs (DSTL) amongst other organisations. Work has involved Command, Planning and Control for activities such as Spacecraft Telecommand, Non-combatant Evacuation Operations, Air Campaign Planning (including work with the Pentagon), US Army Small Unit Operations, Emergency Response and Disaster Relief. A number of projects in the UK and internationally have involved Search and Rescue Coordination, Personnel Recovery and Multi-national Coalition or Joint Forces Planning and Task Support Aids.

Prof. Tate's team is funded by governments and businesses across the world. He has been engaged on some of the leading US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded programs such as Planning Initiative, Agent-Based Computing and Semantic Web programs. He was Edinburgh Principal Investigator for the $10 million 6 year Advanced Knowledge Technologies Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration funded in the UK. He was a Co-PI on the industry, government, academic FireGrid consortium, which explored emergency response systems for the built environment of the future. Prof. Tate was Project Director for the international Coalition Agents eXperiment (CoAX), a $20m project involving 30 member organisations spread over 4 countries.

Prof. Tate is a proponent of the "Helpful Environment" where the long-term aim is:

"The creation and use of task-centric virtual organisations involving people, government and non-governmental organisations, automated systems, grid and web services working alongside intelligent robotic, vehicle, building and environmental systems to respond to very dynamic events on scales from local to global."
His internationally sponsored research work continues to use advanced knowledge and planning technologies, and collaborative systems especially using virtual worlds. He leads the Virtual University of Edinburgh, Vue, a virtual educational and research institute bringing together those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach.

Prof. Tate is on the Senior Advisory Board for the highly-rated IEEE Intelligent Systems journal. He has been involved in the organisation of some of the main artificial intelligence conferences and events internationally, including being a part of the local arrangements team for IJCAI-05 held in Edinburgh. He has published widely and promotes the application of artificial intelligence technology across the world.

Prof. Austin Tate
Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute
Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications
School of Informatics
The University of Edinburgh
Informatics Forum, Crichton Street,
Edinburgh EH8 9AB, UK

Tel: +44 131 651 3222
Blog: atate
Twitter: @batate
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