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Department of Informatics Artificial Intelligence Lab (ARCHIVE)

Rolf Pfeifer, Professor emeritus

Rolf Pfeifer, Professor emeritus, Dr.

General Information

Rolf Pfeifer received his master’s degree in physics and mathematics and his Ph.D. in computer science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. He spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie-Mellon University and at Yale University in the US. From 1987 to 2014 he was a professor of computer science at the Department of Informatics, University of Zurich, and director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He retired in August, 2014.

He worked as a visiting professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) in San Diego, the Beijing Open Laboratory for Cognitive Science, the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, and was elected "21st Century COE Professor, Information Science and Technology" at the University of Tokyo. He was also a visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and he was appointed "Fellow of the School of Engineering" at the University of Tokyo in 2009.

He was the Deputy Director of the NCCR Robotics, the "National Competence Center for Research in Robotics" in Switzerland, and a member of the FET flagship pilot "Robot Companion for Citizens" integration team. His research interests are in the areas of embodiment, biorobotics, "soft robotics", artificial evolution and morphogenesis, modular robotics, self-assembly, and educational technology.

He is the author of the books "Understanding Intelligence", MIT Press, 1999 (with C. Scheier), "How the body shapes the way we think: a new view of intelligence," 2007 (with Josh Bongard) MIT Press (popular science style; translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic), "Designing intelligence - why brains aren't enough" (short version - with Josh Bongard and Don Berry, e-book), and "La révolution de l'intelligence encorporée" (with Alexandre Pitti - in French, to appear fall 2012), and he has over 200 scientific publications.

Lecture series: “The ShanghAI Lectures”, a global mixed-reality lecture series on embodied intelligence, broadcast this time from the University of Zurich (Switzerland), Salford University (UK), and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), in cooperation with other universities from around the globe (fall term, 27 September - 13 December 2012).