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Photo of Pattie Maes PATTIE MAES

Pattie Maes is an Associate Professor at MIT's Media Laboratory, where she founded and directs the Autonomous Agents Group. She currently holds the Sony Corporation Career Development Chair. Previously, she was a visiting Professor and a Research Scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Her areas of expertise are Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, and Human Computer Interaction.

She is one of the pioneers of a new research area called Software Agents, that is, semi-intelligent computer programs which assist a user with the overload of information and the complexity of the on-line world. Maes is frequently quoted in the popular press and on television as an expert in this increasingly important application area. She was the organizer of the first major symposium on interface agents which took place at MIT in October 1992 and which drew 1000 people. She was also a co-organizer of the AAAI Spring Symposium on Software Agents which took place in March 1994. Maes was also the Program Chair for the Fourth International Conference on Simulation of Adaptive Behavior (SAB96) held in September 1996 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is also a Program Chair for the First International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents-97), which is being held from February 5-8, 1997 in Marina del Rey, California.

Maes is also particularly interested in building autonomous agents that interact with people. She is one of the project leaders for the ALIVE project (Artificial Life Interactive Video Environment), which was demonstrated at Siggraph '93 and '95, at the AAAI '94 Art Show, and at ArcTec '95. This project allows a user to interact in real-time with 3D animated autonomous characters.

Pattie Maes has been a speaker at numerous conferences: the IJCAI conference, AAAI conference, Siggraph conference, CHI conference, Apple developers conference, etc. She is the editor of three books and is an editorial board member and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences, such as the Artificial Life and Adaptive Behavior journals. Her work has achieved several prizes, including the IBM best Bachelor's thesis award (1984), the OOPSLA-1987 best paper award, the Ars Electronica 1995 award, the Interactive Media Festival Award 1995, the ArcTec 1995 award and so on. She is a consultant in the area of Software Agents for several major companies such as Apple Computer, Hughes Research, etc. Finally, she is a founder of Agents, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts - one of the first companies to commercialize software agent technology.


Doctorate in Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 1987 (with the greatest distinction). Title of thesis: "Computational Reflection." Bachelor in Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 1983 (with great distinction).


R. Brooks and P. Maes, editors. Artificial Life IV: Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems. MIT Press, July 1994.

P. Maes, editor. Designing Autonomous Agents: Theory and Practice from Biology to Engineering and Back. MIT Press, March 1991. Also published as a special issue of the journal, "Robotics and Autonomous Systems", June 1990.

P. Maes and D. Nardi, editors. Meta-Level Architecture and Reflection. North-Holland, February 1988.

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Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.