Brian Williams

Brian Williams

Biography

Prof. Williams' research concentrates on model-based autonomy -- the creation of long-lived autonomous systems that are able to explore, command, diagnose and repair them selves using fast, commonsense reasoning. Current research focuses on model-based programming and cooperative robotics: Model-based programming is embedding commonsense within robotic explorers and everyday devices by incorporating model-based deductive capabilities within traditional embedded programming languages. Cooperative robotics extends model-based autonomy to robotic networks of cooperating space, air and land vehicles, on Earth or other planets. Applications include deep space explorers, distributed satellites, unmanned air vehicles, Mars rovers, intelligent offices and automobiles. Research interests include reasoning at reactive time scales, cooperative and space robotics, intelligent embedded systems, model-based programming, model-based reactive planning, execution and diagnosis, data-driven exploratory modeling, and hybrid system control.

Brian Williams received his S.B., S.M and Ph.D. from MIT in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in 1989. He pioneered multiple fault, model-based diagnosis in the 80's through the GDE and Sherlock systems at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and model-based autonomy in the 90's through the Livingstone model-based health management and the Burton model-based execution systems. At the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994 to 99 he formed the Autonomous Systems Area, and co-invented the Remote Agent model-based autonomous control system, which received a NASA Space Act Award in 1999. He was a member of the NASA Deep Space One probe flight team, which used remote agent to create the first fully autonomous, self-repairing explorer, demonstrated in flight in 1999. He has won two best paper prizes for his research in qualitative algebras and fast propositional inference. He was a member of the Tom Young Blue Ribbon Team in 2000, assessing future Mars missions in light of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander incidents. He has served as guest editor of the Artificial Intelligence Journal and has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and MIT Press. He is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech.

Publications

Please see http://mers.csail.mit.edu/mers-publications.htm

Awards

  • Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence : Fellow (2008)
  • Science Foundation Ireland: E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award (2007)
  • Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence : Outstanding Senior Program Committee Member (2006)
  • NASA: Group Achievement Award (2004)
  • World Technology Network: Finalist| World Technology Award for Space (2003)
  • International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence: Distinguished Paper Award (2001)
  • NASA: Group Achievement Award (2000)
  • NASA: Space Act Award (1999)
  • NASA: Group Achievement Award (1999)
  • NASA: Software of the Year Award (1999)
  • National Conference on Artificial Intelligence: Best Paper Award (1997)
  • NASA: Ames Team Excellence Award (1995)
  • National Conference on Artificial Intelligence: Best Paper Award (1988)
  • MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab: Merit Award for Basic Research in Artificial Intelligence (1987)