For a school science fair in the 50’s, I built a “machine” that played Tic Tac Toe. (Well actually “reverse Tic Tac Toe”.) So naturally you find me in the photo at the left at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in the 70’s, where I received my Ph.D.
Before MIT, I received my B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard. After MIT, I taught for many years at the University of New Hampshire, where I established a Constraint Computation Center and received the 1999 Award for Excellence in Research. In 2001 I obtained one of the original Science Foundation Ireland Fellow Awards, and took up a post as Research Professor at University College Cork. There I founded the Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C), building upon a group established by Professor James Bowen. In 2019 I received the University College Cork Career Achievement Research Award.
I am now an Emeritus Professor and maintain a role in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, a multi-institutional centre, which 4C merged into at its founding. I am also serving a term as a Councilor of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and chair the AAAI President’s Fellows Advisory Board.
I was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Constraints journal, and now serve on its Advisory Board. For a number of years I served as chair of the Organizing Committee of the Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming. I was honored by a special session of the conference and a dedicated issue of the journal. I had the privilege of attending a Freuderfest in 2011.
I was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence. I was honored to receive both the Research Excellence Award and the Distinguished Service Award of the Association for Constraint Programming.
In the U.S. my research was supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA. In Ireland, my staff and I received support from Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Southern Health Board, the Marine Institute, and from the European Union. My centers obtained funding from over twenty companies. In all, I have been involved in raising around 50 million euro from government and industry for scientific research.
I like to say that I am in the business of helping computers help people make better decisions. 4C spun off two start-ups, one of which has been acquired by Cisco, and received two it@cork Leaders Awards for R&D projects with local companies. I have served on the technical advisory boards of Canadian and French companies and as advisor to U.S. and Irish companies. I helped found the CTVR telecommunications research centre and the ITOBO building operation strategic research cluster.
I also like to say that being an emeritus professor is like being a grandparent: I can now have all of the fun with none of the responsibility.