ian watson

about me

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

I have worked in AI since the 1990s. I am considered a leading expert in case-based reasoning (a memory-based learning method) but I am familiar with most machine learning techniques. I am an applied computer scientist; in  my opinion a theory is useless if it can't be turned into a business' advantage. I have been employed as a consultant by, Unisys, Legal and General, The RAC, the UK Cabinet Office, Inference (now eGain), Datasquirt (now LiveOps), Smallworlds, Unimarket, Mi4Corners, Vensa, Ora. and Tourism NZ amongst others. I'm passionate about making AI work for real benefit.

In 2012 I wrote a book on the history of computing called "The Universal Machine: from the dawn of computing to digital consciousness." The book was published in 2012 by Springer. The book has a 4.5-star review rating on Amazon. My blog http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/ provides details of the book and other interesting computer science stuff.

I was invited by Event Communications, a London-based exhibition design group, to be an historical advisor to the redevelopment of the Communications Gallery of the Russian Polytechnic Science Museum in Moscow. This is part of a $250 million (USD) refurbishment of one of Moscow's cultural landmarks.

I'm a frequent interviewee on NZ media on AI.

Specialities: Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning, case-based reasoning, reinforcement learning, knowledge engineering, knowledge management, game AI, business intelligence, history of computing

last updated 01/03/14