Alan Mackworth

Professor Emeritus

Office Phone #

Academic Information

B.A.Sc., Univ. of Toronto (1966); A.M., Harvard Univ. (1967); D.Phil., Sussex Univ. (1974); Lecturer, Univ. of Toronto (1967-70); Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia (1974); Associate Professor, University of British Columbia (1979); Professor, University of British Columbia (1984); Institute Fellow, Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research.


The goal of my research program is to understand and build intelligent systems. I am particularly interested in the use of knowledge by agents who perceive, reason and act in the world. The central focus is constraint-based computational intelligence.

The development of constraint programming, which we have pioneered, has already proven useful in a wide variety of applications in robotics, vision, scheduling, simulation, diagnosis and repair. Zhang and I have recently developed the online Constraint Net model for specifying, designing, verifying, simulating, and implementing intelligent, embedded, real-time, hybrid systems, such as robots.

In our Lab for Computational Intelligence (LCI), we are building various sensor-based robotic systems. The overall framework is to characterize the knowledge that an intelligent system must have in its internal model and to show how it can acquire information about the world, integrate it into its model and then act to change the world.

We are building teams of mobile robots, with real-time visually based control systems, for experimental tasks like soccer playing, navigation and telerobotics. We proposed and built the world's first soccer-playing robots. These systems provide a framework for driving the development of practical theories of real-time constraint-based computational intelligence. My main goal is to develop a clean theoretical and practical framework for the design and implementation of constraint-based agents.

Selected Publications

Mackworth, A.K., "A Constraint-Based Controller for Soccer-Playing Robots". Proceedings Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS-98), 1998, pp. 1290-1295 (with Yu Zhang).

Mackworth, A.K., "Computational Intelligence: A Logical Approach". Oxford University Press, New York, 1998 (with David Poole and Randy Goebel).

Mackworth, A.K., "The Dynamics of Intelligence: Constraint-Satisfying Hybrid Systems for Perceptual Agents". Proceedings Hybrid Systems and AI, AAAI Spring Symposium Series, 1999, pp. 210-214.

Mackworth, A.K., "Constraint Nets: A Semantic Model for Dynamic System". Theoretical Computer Science, 138, 211- 239, 1995. (With Ying Zhang).

Research Interests

artificial intelligence

Research Groups

AI: Artificial Intelligence
CAIDA: Centre for Artificial Intelligence Decision-making & Action