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International computing expert joins the University of Aberdeen

A leading computing expert, Professor Katia Sycara, has been recruited by the University of Aberdeen as part of the institution’s highly successful international recruitment campaign.

A renowned expert in Semantic Web Services and Multi-Agent Systems, Professor Sycara works in the Robotic Institute, School of Computer Science at CMU, regarded as the top Computer Science Department in America.

Speaking on her new appointment, Professor Sycara said: “There is a lot of exciting work going on in Europe in the area of the Semantic Web and generally in Artificial Intelligence which I wanted to be part of.

“The University of Aberdeen, with its world-class research in both Agents and Knowledge Technology, is going to be a perfect research base for me. I expect this to be a very productive relationship and I am looking forward to be a part of a particularly dynamic and forward-looking College.”

Semantic web services together with the annotated web has huge potential to transform the current web, which provides information for humans to read (the eye-ball Web), into a network which will allow software programs/agents to read and analyse the web information content (the machine -“understandable” web).

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the world wide web has described the semantic web as "not a separate web but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." There are many challenges to be addressed before this vision becomes a reality, and Professor Sycara is one of the international scientists at the forefront of making the semantic web a reality.

Once this technology matures, individuals will be able to delegate tasks like holiday planning to a software agent which would scour the internet for options to fit particular criteria. Besides the many personal applications of this technology it is clear that the range of applications within Science, Medicine, Engineering and Commerce are extensive.

Professor Albert Rodger, Head of the College of Physical Sciences, is delighted to welcome Professor Katia Sycara to the University of Aberdeen. He said: "Professor Sycara is one of the world's leading scientists in the Semantic Web Services and Multi-Agent Systems arena.

"This appointment continues to show that the University is attracting exceptional staff of the highest quality. Professor Sycara will be a great asset to the Computing Science team and will strengthen the research base within the Department."

Dr Peter Edwards, Head of Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, also welcomes Professor Sycara’s appointment. He said: "The appointment of Professor Sycara strengthens the University of Aberdeen’s existing research into Semantic Web Services and Intelligent Software Agents.

“Professor Sycara’s dual role at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Aberdeen will help to build bridges between the US, UK and wider European research communities in these important areas."

Professor Derek Sleeman, Advanced Knowledge Technologies Project, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, welcomes the opportunity of working with Professor Sycara. He said: “Computer Science at CMU has greatly influenced my own work over the years and I am delighted with this link-up that this new appointment will bring. I am looking forward to continuing a fruitful collaboration with Katia, which I am certain will have enormous benefits to us.

“I am very grateful that the University of Aberdeen’s Sixth Century campaign has made such an innovative appointment possible.”

Professor Sycara’s appointment begins in the Autumn.

Professor Sycara was born in Greece. Through various scholarships, including a Fulbright, she pursued all her tertiary education in the US (Brown University, University of Wisconsin and Georgia Institute of Technology). In 2002, she was made a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

The University last year launched the £9million investment programme to ensure that the Institution maintains its position as one of Britain’s leading research-led universities and that Aberdeen remains one of the strongest research communities in the UK. The University’s Chairs for the Sixth Century campaign has been extremely successful, with a number of exceptional appointments in key areas which have helped to strengthen significantly the intellectual capital and academic competitiveness of the institution.

Over the next two years, the University will recruit outstanding scholars who have achieved international distinction in their fields across the three Colleges. They will join an institution with staff of the highest possible calibre and is well known as an international centre of research and teaching excellence. The new recruits already appointed come from the US, Germany, and New Zealand, as well as from the UK.

Professor Katia Sycara, Department of Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, is available for media interviews. Please contact her direct, on +1 412-268-8825 or email:


Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Monday 12th of September 2005

Ref: 1781sycara
Contact: Angela Ferguson

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