Richard S. Sutton

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Richard S. Sutton
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst
Stanford University
Known forTemporal difference learning, Dyna, Options, GQ(λ)
AwardsAAAI Fellow (2001)
President's Award (INNS) (2003)
Royal Society of Canada Fellow (2016)
Scientific career
FieldsArtificial Intelligence
Reinforcement Learning
InstitutionsUniversity of Alberta
ThesisTemporal credit assignment in reinforcement learning (1984)
Doctoral advisorAndrew Barto
Doctoral students David Silver, Doina Precup

Richard S. Sutton is a Canadian computer scientist. Currently he is professor of Computer Science and iCORE chair at the University of Alberta. Sutton is considered[1] one of the founding fathers [or pioneering parents] of modern computational reinforcement learning, having several significant contributions to the field, including temporal difference learning, policy gradient methods, the Dyna architecture.


Sutton received his B.A. degree at the Stanford University in Psychology in 1978, M.Sc. and Ph.D in computer science from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1980 and 1984, respectively, under the supervision of Andrew Barto. His doctoral dissertation was entitled "Temporal Credit Assignment in Reinforcement Learning", where he introduced actor-critic architectures and "temporal credit assignment".


In 1984 Sutton held a postdoctoral position at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 1985 to 1994 he was a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the Computer and Intelligent Systems Laboratory at GTE Laboratories. In 1995 he returned to University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a Senior Research Scientist, position he held until 1998, when he joined the AT&T Shannon Laboratory as Principal Technical Staff Member in the Artificial Intelligence Department. Since 2003 he has been a Professor and iCORE Chair in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, where he leads the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (RLAI). In June 2017, Demis Hassabis announced[2] that Sutton would co-lead a new Alberta office of Deepmind, while maintaining his professorship at University of Alberta.

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Sutton is fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). In 2003 he received the President's Award from the International Neural Network Society and in 2013, the Outstanding Achievement in Research award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Sutton's nomination as a AAAI fellow reads:


  • Sutton, Richard. "Brief Biography for Richard Sutton". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  • "University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Computer Science Outstanding Achievement and Advocacy Award - 2013". Retrieved 2015-01-13.

External links[edit]