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paul cohen portrait

Paul Cohen

Professor and Director
School of Information:
Science, Technology, and Arts

University of Arizona
Gould-Simpson Building
1040 E. 4th Street
Tucson, AZ 85721

cohen at sista dot arizona dot edu


I attended UCSD as an undergraduate, UCLA for a MA in Psychology, and Stanford University for a PhD in Computer Science and Psychology. In 1983, I became an assistant professor in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts. In 2003 I moved to USC's Information Sciences Institute where I served as Deputy Director of the Intelligent Systems Division and Director of the Center for Research on Unexpected Events. In 2008, I joined the University of Arizona as head of Computer Science.

I am married to Prof. Carole Beal.


My research is in artificial intelligence. I want to model human cognitive development in siico, with robots or softbots in game environments as the "babies" we're trying to raise up. I am particularly interested in the sensorimotor foundations of human language. Several of my projects in the last decade have developed algorithms for sensor-to-symbol kinds of processing in service of learning the meanings of words, most recently, verbs. I also work in what we might call Education Informatics, which includes intelligent tutoring systems, data mining and statistical modeling of students' mastery and engagement, assessment technologies, ontologies for representing student data and standards for content, architectures for content delivery, and so on. There are many opportunities to develop and apply AI technologies to provide high-quality education for all students (e.g., K12@UA, Teach Ourselves). Another part of my research is methodological. I think that good problems and instruments produce good science, so I design challenge problems and methods, and advise various sponsoring agencies on the design and conduct of evaluations.