A Little About Myself (Gavin Rens)

Before the Ph.D.

I’ve been interested in Artificial Intelligence since about 2000, when i started my studies in Computer Science. In fact, i decided to study CS because of my interest in AI.

At first, i wanted to study Natural Language Processing (NLP) or Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). The university where i was studying (University of South Africa; UNISA) had a strong Formal Logic (FL) track and i found that i enjoyed the subject quite a lot. Nonetheless, i did take an Honous (4th year) course in each of NLP and ANNs. My Honours project was on Constraint Logic Programming.

In my Masters degree i studied the Situation Calculus and the programming language based on it, called Golog. I also learnt DTGolog, an extension of Golog which is based on decision theory. And i got interested in partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs). My dissertation was thus to extend DTGolog to deal with partial observablility. (DTGolog can be thought of a programming language for MDPs.) My resulting programming language was called PODTGolog.

In a next post, i’ll talk about my PhD and beyond.