Advisory Board

We are thrilled to have such an extraordinary Advisory Board to offer its insights and guidance to the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. These leaders in their fields are contributing their broad expertise to ensure maximum rigor in this competition.
Yoshua Bengio


Yoshua Bengio is Full Professor of the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, Head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), Program co-director of the CIFAR Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception program and is the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms. Watch the 'AI for Good' summit interview with Yoshua Bengio here.

Francesca Rossi


Francesca Rossi is a distinguished research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre and a professor of computer science at the University of Padova, Italy, with focus on artificial intelligence, specifically in constraint reasoning, preferences, multi-agent systems, computational social choice, and collective decision making. She is a AAAI, EurAI and Radcliffe 2015 fellow and has held posts as president of IJCAI and executive councilor of AAAI. She co-chairs the AAAI committee on AI and ethics and she is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Future of Life Institute. Francesca is also in the executive committee of the IEEE global initiative on ethical considerations on the development of autonomous and intelligent systems and she belongs to the World Economic Forum Council on AI and robotics. Watch the 'AI for Good' summit interview with Francesca Rossi here.

Rob High


Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Watson. Prior to joining the Watson team, Rob was Chief Architect for the SOA Foundation and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, object oriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 26 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and the WebSphere Application Server.

Babak Hodjat


Babak Hodjat is co-founder and chief scientist of Sentient, responsible for the core technology behind the world’s largest distributed artificial intelligence system. Babak is a serial entrepreneur, having started a number of Silicon Valley companies as main inventor and technologist and has 25 granted or pending patents to his name. Babak is the primary inventor of Dejima’s patented, agent-oriented technology applied to intelligent interfaces for mobile and enterprise computing – the technology behind Apple’s Siri.

Neil Jacobstein


Neil Jacobstein chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University on the NASA Research Park campus in Mountain View California. Neil is a former President of Singularity University. Jacobstein is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Stanford University Media X Program, where his research focuses on augmented decision systems. He Chaired AAAI’s 17th Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference, and continues to review technical papers for IAAI. In 2016, he became a founding member of the editorial board of AAAS Science Robotics.

Subbarao Kambhampati (Rao)


Subbarao Kambhampati (Rao) is a professor of Computer Science at Arizona State University. His research focuses on planning and decision making, especially in the context of human-aware AI systems.  He is an elected fellow, and the current president of the association for the advancement of AI (AAAI). He was the program chair for IJCAI 2016, and the program co-chair for AAAI 2005.

Peter Norvig


Peter Norvig is a Director of Research at Google Inc. Previously he was head of Google's core search algorithms group, and of NASA Ames's Computational Sciences Division, making him NASA's senior computer scientist. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001. He has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1986 and the distinguished alumni award in 2006. He was co-teacher of an Artifical Intelligence class that signed up 160,000 students, helping to kick off the current round of massive open online classes. His publications include the books Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (the leading textbook in the field), Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common LispVerbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog, and Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX. He is a fellow of the AAAI, ACM, California Academy of Science and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Tim O'Reilly


Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media Inc. Considered by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world, O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Strata: The Business of Data, the Velocity Conference on Web Performance and Operations, and many others. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is also a partner at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O'Reilly's early stage venture firm, and is on the board of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media, which was recently spun out from O'Reilly Media. Maker Media's Maker Faire has been compared to the West Coast Computer Faire, which launched the personal computer revolution.

Jean Ponce


Jean Ponce is a Professor at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France, where he heads the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Ponce is an IEEE Fellow and a Sr. Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the recipient of two US patents and an Advanced ERC grant, and was awarded the CVPR Longuet-Higgins prize in 2016. He has served on the editorial boards of several international journals in Computer Vision and Robotics, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Computer Vision from 2003 to 2008. He also served as Program Chair of the 1997 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, General Chair of the 2000 edition of that conference, and General Chair of the 2008 European Conference on Computer Vision. Dr. Ponce is the co-author of "Computer Vision: A Modern Approach", a textbook that has been translated in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian, and is working on a new book, "Geometric Foundations of Computer Vision".

Lav Varshney


Lav R. Varshney is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research focuses on the science and engineering of informational systems involving humans and machines, driven by a desire to improve individual and collective intelligence in modern environments.  His central results have been in establishing information-theoretic limits, optimal designs, and practical deployments in systems ranging from nanoscale computing and neuroscience to social computing and computational creativity.

Manuela M. Veloso


Manuela M. Veloso is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the Head of the Machine Learning Department and researches in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Machine Learning. She founded and directs the CORAL research laboratory, for the study of autonomous agents that Collaborate, Observe, Reason, Act, and Learn, www.cs.cmu.edu/~coral. Professor Veloso is IEEE Fellow, AAAS Fellow, AAAI Fellow, Einstein Chair Professor, and the co-founder and past President of RoboCup, and past President of AAAI. Professor Veloso and her students research with a variety of autonomous robots, including mobile service robots and soccer robots. See www.cs.cmu.edu/~mmv for further information, including publications. Watch the 'AI for Good' summit interview with Manuela Veloso here.

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