Adaptive Agents Lab
My personal blog,
A must-see tutorial on Critical Thinking at YouTube
See a demo of my robotics class
Requires iTunes player, or Quicktime.
My presentation on Biophysical Economics at the, Pacific Science Center, Science Café in Tacoma
Welcome to my Web site
This site has several purposes. One is to provide a support center for my students. I have links to course sites and other resources from the Academics page in the menu to the left. Another purpose is to disseminate information on my research in autonomous agents (mobile robots and cyberbots). I am interested in how natural intelligence in animals allows them to survive and carry out their basic mission (reproduction) in sometimes hostile and usually uncertain environments. Please check out the Autonomous Agents Lab page and the Robotics Class Demo to see these autonomous agents in action.
One of the areas I am pursuing more vigorously these days is Energy Systems Research. I got into the alternative energy business (thermal solar) back in the '80s and participated in the engineering design of a number of active and passive systems. My specialty was control systems. In fact, this is how I got into computers. I was part of the move to incorporate the then new μ-processors into the control systems, replacing clunky relay logic. I fell in love with micros and ended up in the software development side of embedded controllers as a result.
Today I am pursuing several related lines in energy research. These include a highly multi-disciplinary collaboration with many scientists around the world who are pursuing a more rigorous biophysical approach to economics. I took three months of sabbatical in the Fall, 2009 quarter to collaborate with scientists at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY, on modeling the energy dynamics of macro-economics.
On the academic side, I have been pushing for a new Master's of Science in Energy Systems Engineering (MSESE) program at the Institute of Technology. This is part of a larger effort to introduce formal degree programs in systems science at UWT. The MSESE will be educating a new generation of engineers in the complex issues involving alternative energy systems design. My own research involves developing a new modelling language, DynSysMod to be used to investigate what I call the Energy Systems Sustainability Criterion (see research description for more details).
Finally, the work I've done on machine emulation of natural intelligence has led me into some very interesting work that might more rightly be called evolutionary, cognitive neuropsychology. This research actually represents the confluence of two basic questions about intelligence in humans. The first question is: How did human intelligence arise and what is it? The second question is: If we are so smart, why are we on the brink of cataclysmic climate change and using up the last of our extractable fossil fuels with a world population that is unsustainable with anything like a reasonable and equitable living standard?
Something more than just 'ordinary' intelligence — the capacity to solve problems and make decisions — is missing. What seems to be missing is a sufficient capacity to use good judgment in guiding intelligence (and creativity) when looking for solutions to problems. Please visit my Research page for more on this timely topic.
I hope you find something of interest or use here. If I can answer any questions please feel free to e-mail me at the above address.