Research Areas


The late Professor Robert Wilensky obtained his B.A. in Mathematics in 1972, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1978, both from Yale University. His research interests included the role of memory processes in natural language processing, language analysis and production, and artificial intelligence programming languages. Projects focused on digital information services, which include trust management and determining the reliability of information, people, and services; the Digital Library Project (with Richard J. Fateman); and the development of petabyte storage infrastructure technologies (under the auspices of CITRIS).

His professional career spanned 28 years at the University of California at Berkeley, beginning with his initial faculty appointment in 1978 in the EECS Department. In 1996 he was named Professor in the UC Berkeley Information School. In addition to his professorial duties, Professor Wilensky also served as Chair of the Computer Science Division (1993-1997), Director of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Project, Director of the Berkeley Cognitive Science Program, on the Board of Directors of the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), as well as numerous other institutional and national advisory committees.

He was the author or co-author of many scholarly articles, conference papers, and technical reports on artificial intelligence, planning and knowledge representation, natural language processing, and information dissemination. He also authored three books, two of which are well known in the LISP program language literature - LISPcraft and Common LISPcraft - and a third entitled Planning and Understanding: A Computational Approach to Human Understanding.

In recognition of his "research contributions to the areas of natural language processing and digital libraries as well as outstanding leadership in Computer Science," Professor Wilensky was named Fellow of the ACM in 1997. In addition, he was an Honorary Member of the Golden Key National Honor Society (1995), a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and was an ACM National Lecturer.

Professor Wilensky's distinguished career notwithstanding, he prided himself as being the author of the following well-known quote: "We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."

Professor Wilensky passed away March 15, 2013, and is greatly missed by all who knew him.

Selected Publications

Awards, Memberships and Fellowships