Ronald Loui

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Ronald Prescott Loui is an American computer scientist and philosopher identified as "Frederick" in U.S. President Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father memoir, the first classmate the ten-year-old Obama meets at Punahou School.[1][2][3] Loui appears in Obama biographies, national and international newspaper articles,[4][5][6] in online columns, in a film documentary,[7] on NPR and on Fox TV news.[8] In cartoon form, he appears as Obama's childhood sidekick in the comic biography by Jeff Mariotte. Loui is the first friend named and quoted by Obama in his memoir. In a radio interview, Loui explained that his brother Terrence was really the first person who welcomed Obama and his grandfather to Punahou (so the character in the memoir is a composite of two people).[9]


Loui was a leading advocate of defeasible reasoning in artificial intelligence (see also argument and argumentation theory) and a proponent of scripting languages.

He was co-patentor of a deep packet inspection hardware device that could read and edit the contents of packets as they stream through a network.[10] This was a key technology sought by the DARPA Information Awareness Office and Disruptive Technology Office under Total Information Awareness. Loui also consulted on Cyc, a famous Artificial Intelligence program devised by Doug Lenat.

Loui organized the first Harvard internet alumni club and built a citation-based search engine (for legal opinions) in the early 1990s.[11]

He earned his Ph.D. under Henry E. Kyburg, and spent postdoctoral time at Stanford under Patrick Suppes and Amos Tversky.[11]

Professor Loui supervised students in a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program that produced several current professors of computing, and the author of the original Google search engine.


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