Dr Michael Wayne Barley

BA in Mathematics (UC San Diego), MSc in Cybernetics (Brunel University, UK), PhD in Computer Science (Rutgers University, USA)

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Senior Lecturer


I was born in Denver, Colorado and after many detours went to San Diego for primary and intermediate schooling. I attended Central High School in London and did my undergraduate work at the University of California at San Diego. I received an MSc in Cybernetics from Brunel University in England and my PhD in Computer Science from Rutgers University in the US.

I worked for the Burroughs Corporation for most of the '70s, and for the Boeing Company before coming to the University of Auckland in 1997.

Research | Current

My primary research focuses on adaptive problem solving.  Specifically developing problem solvers that dynamically select the problem solving methods, problem representations, and search control knowledge that seem most likely to solve a given problem in the shortest amount of time. 


My secondary research interests are heuristic search in general, and more specifically bidirectional heuristic search.

Teaching | Current

Office Hours: arrange meetings by email

Postgraduate supervision

Teererai Marange


Head of the Intelligent Systems & Informatics Research Group

Departmental Seminar Coordinator


Areas of expertise

Artificial Intelligence in general, and specifically automated problem solving and domain-independent planning.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Franco, S., Torralba Á, Lelis, L. H. S., & Barley, M. (2017). On creating complementary pattern databases. IJCAI International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 4302-4309. Melbourne, Australia: International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence.
  • Riddle, P. J., Barley, M., Franco, S., & Douglas, J. (2015). Automated transformation of PDDL representations. In L. Lelis, R. Stern (Eds.) Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SOCS 2015, 11-13 June 2015, Ein Gedi, the Dead Sea, Israel, 214-215. Ein Gedi, the Dead Sea, Israel: AAAI PRESS.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Patricia Riddle, Jordan Douglas
  • Langley, P., Pearce, C., Barley, M., & Emery, M. (2014). Bounded rationality in problem solving: Guiding search with domain-independent heuristics. Mind & Society, 13 (1), 83-95. 10.1007/s11299-014-0143-y
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/24162
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Pat Langley
  • Pearce, C., Meadows, B., Langley, P., & Barley, M. (2014). Social planning: Achieving goals by altering others' mental states. Proceedings of the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 402-408. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: AAAI Press.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/24418
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Pat Langley
  • Barley, M., Franco Aixela, S. M., & Riddle, P. (2014). Overcoming the Utility Problem in Heuristic Generation: Why Time Matters. In S. chien, A. Fern, W. Ruml, M. Do (Eds.) Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, 38-46. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Patricia Riddle
  • Langley, P., Emery, M., Barley, M. W., & Maclellan, C. (1/1/2013). An Architecture for Flexible Problem Solving. Poster presented at The Second Annual Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems, Baltimore. Poster Collection: The Second Annual Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/25008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Pat Langley
  • Franco, S., Barley, M., & Riddle, P. J. (2013). In Situ Selection of Heuristic Subsets for randomization in IDA* and A. In M. Helmert, M. Katz, Röger G, J. Thayer (Eds.) Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Heuristics and Search for Domain-Independent Planning (HSDIP 2013), 5-13. Rome, Italy. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Patricia Riddle
  • Riddle, P. J., Barley, M. W., & Franco, S. A. (2013). Preliminary Results on a Meta-Level Search Framework for Problem Reformulation. Paper presented at ACS 2013 Workshop on Metacognition about Artificial Situated Agents, Baltimore, Maryland. 14 December - 14 December 2013. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Patricia Riddle


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 488
New Zealand

Web links