Dana Nau elected to AAAS Fellow

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Congratulations to Professor Dana Nau (CS/ISR), who has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is one of eight ISR faculty who have received the prestigious designation. His citation reads, "for distinguished contributions to artificial intelligence, particularly for game-theoretic models and for the theory and practice of AI planning."

Nau, one of ISR’s founding faculty members from 1985, is well known for his expertise in artificial intelligence and its subfields of automated planning and game theory. He invented the Simple Hierarchical Ordered Planner (SHOP), as well as the SHOP, SHOP2, and Pyhop automated-planning systems that have been used in thousands of projects worldwide. With his co-authors Malik Ghallab and Paolo Traverso, Nau wrote two graduate-level textbooks, Automated Planning: Theory and Practice and Automated Planning and Acting.

Nau wrote the AI planning and game-tree search algorithm used by the computer program that won the 1997 world championship of computer bridge. He also discovered pathological game trees, in which looking farther ahead produces worse decision-making.

He is known for his game-theoretic studies of the evolution of cultural characteristics such as third-party punishment and ethnocentrism. In recent years, Nau has frequently collaborated with Distinguished University Professor of Psychology Michelle Gelfand on projects that apply her “loose” and “tight” culture social theory to real-world situations, such as the varying cultural responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, Nau is part of the AFOSR MURI: Innovations in Mean-Field Game Theory for Scalable Computation and Diverse Applications and the DARPA SPADE: Strategic Probabilistic Attitudinal Diplomacy Engine project.

In addition to being an AAAI Fellow, Nau is a Fellow of both the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Published January 31, 2023