Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 36

SMC Innovators

by M.E. El-Hawary

Understanding
and Modeling
the Foundations
of Intelligence

I

direct link. As a young person, I was
n the 1970s, Dr. Eugene Santos,
fascinated by what I could make a
Jr.'s parents ran a computer busicomputer do. As my
ness. As a child in
k nowledge g rew, I
the early days of perstarted to think about
sonal computing, Sanhow to make a comtos was exposed to
puter do what people
some of the first perdo. Can computers
sonal computers, terbe smart? Insightful?
minals, and modems.
Creative? My parents
He remembers the
encou r a ged me to
old IBM mainframes
further explore these
and coding with what
thoughts through dislooked like an old
cussions, readings,
t elet y pe m a ch i ne, Dr. Eugene Santos, Jr.
and challenge probas well as the punch
lems. I was very fortunate to be surcards. Both of his parents were also
rounded by and steeped in new ideas
faculty members who taught and reand technologies-basically growing
searched math and computer science.
up 'in' innovation, so to speak."
Given the rich and plentiful environSantos is currently a professor of
ments he could explore, Santos' curiengineering at the Thayer School of
osity naturally turned to computers.
Engineering at Dartmouth College in
He learned from his mother as she
Hanover, New Hampshire. Prior to
built computers from kits, and he
joining Dartmouth in 2005, he was a
was given a Superboard and then a
faculty member at the University of
Challenger IP (both from Ohio ScienConnecticut (1997-2005) and the Air
tific, Inc.) with which to play. Santos
Force Institute of Technology (1992-
learned to code on these early com1997). He is also a Fellow of the IEEE
puters using both BASIC and assemand served as editor-in-chief for IEEE
bly language.
Transactions on Cybernetics (formerWhen asked about how his early
ly IEEE Transactions on Systems,
experiences with computers brought
Man, and Cybernetics: Part B).
him to the IEEE Systems, Man,
His research interests have spanned
and Cybernetics Society (SMCS),
quite a number of areas throughout his
he answered, "There is definitely a
career; however, all of them have been
thematically founded on understandDigital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2015.2447529
ing and modeling the foundations of
Date of publication: 16 September 2015
36

IEEE SyStEmS, man, & CybErnEtICS magazInE A pri l 2015

intelligence, especially nonlinear reasoning. The applications included decision making, emergent behavior, intent
inferencing, knowledge aggregation
and fusion, social and cultural modeling, computational social science,
automated reasoning, adversarial
reasoning, user modeling, natural language processing, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge engineering, protein
folding, and information retrieval and
content analyses. Santos has been a
prolific author, publishing over 150 refereed technical papers on these areas.
When Santos is not busy as an academic, he spends his time playing and
composing music on his piano, designing and building furniture, and enjoying good computer games.
IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Magazine (SMCM): What
are your current research projects?
Eugene Santos: I am currently
researching nonlinear decision-making, especially how such nonlinear
decisions can be learned from data,
experience, and interactions with
other decision-makers. Nonlinear thinking is a prized ability we
humans have applied across any and
all domains when the problems are
challenging and known solutions, or
ways of addressing the problems, all
fail to provide an adequate solution.
For instance, if all available choices are bad choices, must we settle for
the least bad one? The ability to discover a new choice has been called
being nonlinear, innovative, intuitive,
emergent, or simply thinking outside the box. It is well documented
that humans can often excel at such
thinking in situations when there
is a scarcity or an overflow of data,
significant uncertainty, and numerous contradictions in what is known.
However, how this can be replicated
computationally for a machine has



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 1
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover4
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