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Nau, Dana

3241 A.V. Williams Building

Research Interests 

Artificial intelligence; computer integrated design and manufacturing; planning; search



Dana Nau is a professor at the University of Maryland, in the Department of Computer Science and the Institute for Systems Research (ISR). He has affiliate appointments in the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is director of the Laboratory for Computational Cultural Dynamics (LCCD).

Dr. Nau is an AAAI Fellow (elected in 1996), and was an invited speaker at AAAI-05. He has received an NSF graduate fellowship, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator award, an Outstanding Faculty award, and four "best paper" awards. He co-authored the AI-planning algorithm that enabled Bridge Baron to win the 1997 world championship of computer bridge. His SHOP2 planning system won one of the top four awards in the 2002 International Planning Competition, and has been used in hundreds of projects worldwide.

Dr. Nau's research interests include AI planning and searching, and computer-integrated design and manufacturing. He has more than 250 publications (here is a list). He has taught "short courses" on his research in the US, India, Cyprus, and Italy. His book Automated Planning: Theory and Practice is the de facto standard textbook on automated planning.

Dr. Nau received a B.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1974. He received an A.M. (in 1976) and Ph.D. (in 1979) in Computer Science from Duke University, where he was an NSF graduate fellow and a James B. Duke graduate fellow. He has had summer and/or sabbatical appointments at IBM Research, NIST, the University of Rochester, and General Motors Research Laboratories.

Dr. Nau has chaired or co-chaired several major conferences, including most recently the 2003 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS). He has been a reviewer for many conferences, journals, and funding agencies. He has been on editorial boards for the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) and several other major journals and book series. He has been the Computer Science Department's director of graduate studies, the director of the CIM Laboratory, and the chair of the ISR Executive Committee. He currently is the Computer Science Department's webmaster and is a member of the campus senate.

Honors and Awards 

American Association for Artificial Intelligence, 1996
Association for Computing Machinery, "for contributions to automated search and planning," 2013

Young Faculty awards
NSF PYI, 1984

Other awards
Winner, Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, 1997

Related News 

Nau, Gelfand, Goldstein part of MURI developing the potential of mean-field game theory
The AFOSR initiative funds researchers from Maryland, UCLA, the University of Houston, and Princeton. April 20, 2018

William Regli named sixth director of ISR
Regli, an ISR alumnus, will begin his appointment in January 2018. July 7, 2017

Nau and colleagues publish new AI Planning book
Automated Planning and Acting introduces complex computational techniques for planning and performing actions. September 29, 2016

Moving matters: Ethnocentric behavior decreases when societal mobility rises
New study suggests that a society’s level of mobility influences whether its members treat outsiders as individuals December 9, 2015

Alum Amnon Lotem wins EATCS/ACM SIGACT Gödel Prize
Prizewinning paper introduced the “threshold algorithm” used in applications and systems that gather multi-sourced information. May 4, 2014

ICAPS best paper award for Dana Nau, Vikas Shivashankar and colleagues
"Optimal Planning with Global Numerical State Constraints" won the best student paper award. April 15, 2014

Crime and punishment: interdisciplinary researchers explain ‘third party’ evolution
Nau, Gelfand, Roos and Carr use powerful mathematical models to explain social behavior. December 17, 2013

Dana Nau named ACM Fellow
Professor is honored "for contributions to automated search and planning." December 10, 2013

Dana Nau's impact celebrated with birthday symposium
Nau honored for contributions to automated planning, diagnostic inference, adversarial and game theoretic reasoning, and automated manufacturing. May 9, 2012

Alum Kiran Hebbar promoted at Valhalla Partners
Earned M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1996. April 8, 2011

Alum Amnon Lotem promoted to Chief Technology Officer at Skybox Security
Lotem earned his Ph.D. in 2000; was advised by Dana Nau. October 13, 2010

Work of Erol, Nau, Hendler earns honorable mention for ICAPS Influential Paper Award
The 1994 paper was pioneering work in hierarchical task-network (HTN) planning systems. August 25, 2009

Dana Nau will be keynote speaker at KI-2009
The 33rd Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence is the annual German conference on AI. August 24, 2009

Alumnus Qiang Yang named IEEE Fellow
Former student of Dana Nau honored for work in intelligent planning, learning and data mining. November 13, 2008

'RFF' wins 2008 International Planning Competition
Former ISR visitor Florent Teichteil-Königsbuch was among the developers. September 13, 2008

Nau invited speaker at ProMas 2008
ISR professor spoke on autonomous agent planning. June 19, 2008

Dana Nau interviewed about Texas Hold'em computer program
Professor helped develop award-winning program that plays contract bridge. July 24, 2007

Automated Kriegspiel Chess Player (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Nau, Subrahmanian are principal investigators for $3.4 million MURI
"Cognitive Architecture for Reasoning about Adversaries" team also includes ISR's Michael Fu March 14, 2006

Dana Nau one of three authors of Automated Planning
June 2004—Book offers a comprehensive, up-to-date resource on both the theory and practice of automated planning. June 16, 2004

Dana Nau is PI for 'Pushing the Boundaries of AI Planning'
June 2004—Research in the $140,000 NSF will develop planner-generalization techniques. June 2, 2004

DARPA awards Nau contract for AcT program
Research will develop an easy-to-use planning tool for Special Operations Forces March 23, 2000