Robert Kowalski

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Bob Kowalski
Robert Kowalski.jpg
Born (1941-05-15) 15 May 1941 (age 77)
Bridgeport, Connecticut, US
CitizenshipNaturalised British Citizen
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
University of Bridgeport
Stanford University
University of Warsaw
University of Edinburgh
Known forLogic programming
Event calculus
AwardsIJCAI Award for Research Excellence (2011)
Scientific career
Computer Science
InstitutionsUniversity of Edinburgh
Imperial College London
ThesisStudies in the Completeness and Efficiency of Theorem-Proving by Resolution (1970)
Doctoral advisorBernard Meltzer
Doctoral studentsDavid H. D. Warren
Keith Clark

Robert Anthony "Bob" Kowalski (born 15 May 1941) is a logician and computer scientist, who has spent most of his career in the United Kingdom.


He was educated at the University of Chicago, University of Bridgeport (BA in mathematics, 1963), Stanford University (MSc in mathematics, 1966), University of Warsaw and the University of Edinburgh (PhD in computer science, 1970).


He was a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh (1970–75) and has been at Imperial College London since 1975, attaining a chair in Computational logic in 1982 and becoming Emeritus Professor in 1999.

He began his research in the field of automated theorem proving, developing both SL-resolution[2] with Donald Kuehner and the connection graph proof procedure.[3] He developed SLD resolution and the procedural interpretation of Horn clauses[4], which underpin the operational semantics of backward reasoning in logic programming. With Maarten van Emden.[5], he also developed the minimal model and the fixpoint semantics of Horn clauses, which underpin the logical semantics of logic programming.

With Marek Sergot, he developed both the event calculus[6] and the application of logic programming to legal reasoning.[7][8] With Fariba Sadri, he developed an agent model[9][10] in which beliefs are represented by logic programs and goals are represented by integrity constraints.

Kowalski was one of the developers of Abductive Logic Programming, in which logic programs are augmented with integrity constraints and with undefined, abducible predicates.[11][12] This work led to the demonstration with Phan Minh Dung and Francesca Toni that most logics for default reasoning can be regarded as special cases of assumption-based argumentation.[13][14]

More recently he distilled most of the above into a new language, Logic Production Systems[15], in joint work with Fariba Sadri.

Honours and awards[edit]

Kowalski was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence in 1991, of the European Co-ordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence in 1999, and the Association for Computing Machinery in 2001. He received the IJCAI Award for Research Excellence, “for his contributions to logic for knowledge representation and problem solving, including his pioneering work on automated theorem proving and logic programming” in 2011 [16], and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award for Eminent Scientists for 2012-2014[17].


  • "Logic for Problem Solving", North Holland, Elsevier, 1979.
  • "Computational Logic and Human Thinking: How to be Artificially Intelligent", Cambridge University Press, 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Kowalski, R. and Kuehner, D., "Linear Resolution with Selection Function", in Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 2, 1971, pp. 227–260. Reprinted in Anthology of Automated Theorem-Proving Papers, Vol. 2, Springer-Verlag, 1983, pp. 542–577.
  3. ^ Kowalski, R., "A Proof Procedure Using Connection Graphs", in Journal of the ACM Vol. 22, No. 4, 1975, pp. 572–595.
  4. ^ Kowalski, R., "Predicate Logic as Programming Language", in Proceedings IFIP Congress, Stockholm, North Holland Publishing Co., 1974, pp. 569–574. Reprinted in Computers for Artificial Intelligence Applications, (eds. Wah, B. and Li, G.-J.), IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Angeles, 1986, pp. 68–73.
  5. ^ van Emden, M. and Kowalski, R., "The Semantics of Predicate Logic as a Programming Language", in Journal of the ACM, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1976, pp. 733–742.
  6. ^ Kowalski, R. and Sergot, M., "A Logic-based Calculus of Events", in New Generation Computing, Vol. 4, No. 1, February 1986, pp. 67–95. Also in Knowledge Base Management-Systems, (eds. C. Thanos and J. W. Schmidt), Springer-Verlag, pp. 23–51. Also in The Language of Time: A Reader (eds. Inderjeet Mani, J. Pustejovsky, and R. Gaizauskas). Oxford University Press, 2005.
  7. ^ Sergot, M., Sadri, F., Kowalski, R., Kriwaczek, F., Hammond, P., and Cory, T., "The British Nationality Act as a Logic Program", in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 29, No. 5, 1986, pp. 370–386.
  8. ^ Kowalski, R., "Legislation as Logic Programs", in Logic Programming in Action (eds. G. Comyn, N. E. Fuchs, M. J. Ratcliffe), Springer-Verlag, 1992, pp. 203–230.
  9. ^ Kowalski, R., "Using Metalogic to Reconcile Reactive with Rational Agents". In Meta-Logics and Logic Programming (K. Apt and F. Turini, eds.), MIT Press, 1995.
  10. ^ Kowalski, R. and Sadri, F., "From Logic Programming towards Multi-agent Systems", Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, Volume 25 (1999), pp. 391–419.
  11. ^ Eshghi, K.,and Kowalski, R., "Abduction through deduction". Department of Computing, Imperial College, 1988.
  12. ^ Kakas, T., Kowalski, K. and Toni, F., "Abductive Logic Programming". Journal of Logic and Computation, 1992, Vol. 2 No. 6, pp. 719–770.
  13. ^ Bondarenko, A., Dung, P. M., Kowalski, R., and Toni, F. " An Abstract Argumentation-theoretic Approach to Default Reasoning". Journal of Artificial Intelligence, 93(1–2), 1997, pp 63–101.
  14. ^ Dung, P. M., Kowalski, R., and Toni, F. "Dialectic proof procedures for assumption-based, admissible argumentation". Journal of Artificial Intelligence, 170(2), February 2006, pp. 114–159.
  15. ^
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]

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