Sven Koenig

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Professor of Computer Science

Education

  • Doctoral Degree, Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Master's Degree, Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Master's Degree, Computer Science, University of Hamburg
  • Master's Degree, Business Administration, University of Hamburg

Biography


Sven Koenig is a professor of computer science at the University of Southern California and was also a program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2010 to 2012. He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 for his dissertation on "Goal-Directed Acting with Incomplete Information." He also holds M.S. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University and is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is proud of his students, who have won many awards (including best paper, best dissertation, best research assistant, and best teaching assistant awards) and took their first jobs in academia. One of them (Prof. William Yeoh) was selected by IEEE Intelligent Systems as one of the "AI's 10 to Watch" 2015 ("10 young stars in the field of AI," chosen every two years from researchers around the world).

Sven has edited several conference proceedings and published more than 280 papers in various areas of artificial intelligence and robotics, including more than 50 papers at AAAI and IJCAI (the two main artificial intelligence conferences), as well as papers in planning (ICAPS and its predecessors AIPS and ECP), agents (AAMAS and its predecessor Autonomous Agents), machine learning (ICML, COLT), numerical artificial intelligence and control (NIPS, UAI, AI and Mathematics), knowledge representation and reasoning (KR, CP, CPAIOR), robotics (ICRA, IROS, RSS), games (AIIDE, FDG, CIG), and others. He was conference co-chair of the 2002 Symposium on Abstraction, Reformulation, and Approximation (SARA), the 2004 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), the 2009 International Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS), and the 2018 International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS). He was program co-chair of the 2005 International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, the 2015 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the 2016 and 2017 Symposia on Educational Advances in AI (EAAI), and the 2018 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling. He is president of SoCS, chair of the AAAI conference committee, past chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (ACM SIGAI), an elected member-at-large of the steering group of the AAAS Information, Computing, and Communication section, and an elected member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS). He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and the Journal on Advances in Complex Systems, and an editor of the Communications of the ACM (Research Highlights). He was a councilor of AAAI, a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR), an associate editor of Artificial Intelligence, Computational Intelligence and JAIR, and a member of the steering committees of ICAPS, SoCS, and SARA. He helped to start both Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS), a highly selective robotics conference, in 2005 and SoCS, the first regular meeting of the search community in artificial intelligence, in 2009.

Sven is passionate about helping students and young researchers to get a good start in their careers. On the high-school level, he repeatedly represented AAAI as a judge at ISEF, which brings together over 1,400 high-school students from more than forty nations. On the university level, he often serves as external member on dissertation committees, was three times co-chair of the AAAI student abstract and poster program, often participates as panelist or mentor in doctoral consortia of artificial intelligence conferences, was a member of award committees of major artificial intelligence conferences and journals, and frequently presents tutorials about his research at summer schools and conferences. He co-organized many USC Programming Contests and trained USC students for several Regional ACM Programming Competitions, where they placed 2nd out of 73 teams in 2006 and 1st out of 75 teams in 2012 (and went on to the world finals). At NSF, he helped to manage the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program and initiated the NSF European Extended Lab Visit Program for Graduate Students in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Sven has recently also become interested in AI Ethics, not because he has any answers but because he has lots of questions. He was a member of the organizing committees of the AAAI Workshops on Artificial Intelligence and Ethics (and Society) in 2015 and 2016, helped to initiate the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in 2016 (and oversaw the second edition as well), moderated the EAAI Panel on Artificial Intelligence Ethics Education in 2016, co-authored an article in Artificial Intelligence Magazine on Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence Courses in 2017, became a member of the executive committee of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems in 2017, co-founded the AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society in 2018 (and now serves on its steering committee), and co-edited a special issue of the Artificial Intelligence journal (AIJ) on ethics for autonomous systems.

Additional information about Sven can be found on his webpages: idm-lab.org.

Research Summary


Sven is interested in intelligent systems that operate in large, nondeterministic, nonstationary or only partially known domains. Most of his research centers around techniques for decision making (planning and learning) that enable single situated agents (such as robots or decision-support systems) and teams of agents to act intelligently in their environments and exhibit goal-directed behavior in real-time, even if they have only incomplete knowledge of their environment, imperfect abilities to manipulate it, limited or noisy perception or insufficient reasoning speed. He believes that finding good solutions to these problems requires approaches that cut across many different fields and, consequently, his research draws on areas such as artificial intelligence, decision theory, and operations research. Applications of his research include robotics and video games as well as transportation, planetary exploration, supply-chain management, and crisis management (such as oil-spill containment).

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, including Agents, Decision Making, Games, Learning, Markov Decision Processes, Mobile Robotics, Multi-Agent Systems, Multi-Robot Coordination, Navigation, Planning, and Search.

Awards


  • 2021 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow
  • 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow
  • 2020 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS) Outstanding Student Paper Award
  • 2020 Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS) Best Paper Honorable Mention
  • 2020 Winning Team (Advisor) NeurIPS Flatland Competition (a railway scheduling competition)
  • 2019 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence Classic Paper (= "Test of Time") Honorable Mention
  • 2019 USC Stevens Center for Innovation Technology Commercialization Award
  • 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow
  • 2017 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2017 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence Outstanding Senior Program Committee Member
  • 2016 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS) Outstanding Paper Award (Robotics Track)
  • 2015 University of Southern California (USC) Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching and Education
  • 2013 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Fellow
  • 2012 National Science Foundation (NSF) Director's Award for Collaborative Integration
  • 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Director's Award for Collaborative Integration
  • 2009 University of Southern California (USC) Mellon Mentoring Award: Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Students
  • 2009 International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) Nomination for the Pragnesh Jay Modi Best Student Paper Award
  • 2004 Georgia Institute of Technology SAIC Student Advisement Award
  • 2003 Georgia Institute of Technology Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award
  • 2001 International Business Machines (IBM) Faculty Partnership Award
  • 2000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award
  • 1999 Georgia Institute of Technology Raytheon Faculty Research Award
Appointments
  • Computer Science

Office
  • SAL 312
  • Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center
  • 941 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 781

Contact Information
  • (213) 740-6491
  • skoenig@usc.edu

Links

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