Hector Geffner

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

Engineering Sciences

Hector was born in Buenos Aires in 1959, did his BS in Caracas, Venezuela, and got his PhD in Computer Science at UCLA with a dissertation that was co-winner of the 1990 ACM Dissertation Award. He is currently a fellow of the American and European Associations for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI, ECCAI), and Associate Editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) and the Artificial Intelligence Journal (AIJ). He taught at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Aachen University of Technology, Linkoping University, Université Paul Sabatier, and King's College, among other places. He joined ICREA and the UPF in 2001, where he is a Professor in the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC).

Research interests

Hector works on planning and plan recognition in intelligent systems, developing methods for generating and recognizing autonomous behavior automatically using model-based methods. In these methods, agents are not programmed by hand but derive their behavior automatically by solving a model of the interaction between the agent and the environment. The challenge is mainly computational as the formulation of methods for deriving the right behavior effectively when the models are large is computationally intractable in the worst case. The work involves theory based on logic, probabilities, heuristics, and algorithms, and computational experiments. The research is relevant to both artificial intelligence and cognitive science, as it aims to uncover general principles of rational behavior that take into account the computational constraints that are present in both natural and artificial systems.

Selected publications

– Frances G & Geffner H 2016, ‘E-STRIPS: Existential Quantification in Planning and Constraint Satisfaction’, Proc. 25th Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI).

– Bonet B & Geffner H 2016, ‘Factored Probabilistic Belief Tracking’, Proc. Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI).

– Lipovetzky N, Muise C & Geffner H 2016, ‘Traps, Invariants, and Dead-ends’, Proc. Int. Conf. on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS).

– Frances G & Geffner H 2016, ‘Effective Planning with More Expressive Languages’, Proc. Int. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI).

Selected research activities

– Short research stays at U. Brescia and La Sapienza U. di Roma.

– Invited talks at Imperial College, London; IRIT, Toulouse, and at European Workshop on Reinforcement Learning.