Luc Steels is currently research professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies (ICREA), working in the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE - UPF/CSIC) in Barcelona. He studied linguistics at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and computer science at MIT, specializing in Artificial Intelligence under Marvin Minsky. After his studies he first worked in the application of knowledge-based AI for industrial expert systems at the geophyiscal measurement company Schlumberger (in the US and France). In 1983 he returned to Europe and founded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Free University of Brussels (VUB) which quickly became one of the pioneering labs in Europe in the nineteen-eighties, pushing advances in knowledge technologies, neural networks and genetic algorithms. In the nineties his laboratory spearheaded work in behavior-based robotics. In 1996, Steels became founding director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, a laboratory which became known for highly innovative researchers in the domain of language, music and sustainability. In 2011 he created the Language Evolution Lab at IBE in Barcelona which focuses on modeling how new words, meaning and grammar can arise through situated embodied interactions between agents.

Since the nineteen-eighties, Luc Steels has played a big role in the organization of AI. He was founding chairman of the Belgian AI association, which merged later with the Dutch AI association to form BNAIC. He was involved in setting up ECCAI, the largest organization of AI in Europe, and was founding editor (with Bob Wielinga) of AI Communications, the largest European AI journal. He chaired some of the key conferences in AI in Europe, such as ECAI, SAB, EKAW, a.o.. He participated as P.I. and coordinator in a dozen major European projects, and helped shape the European research agenda towards AI at the EU level. He has also organised a large variety of workshops, tutorials and small-scale conferences and edited a dozen books on AI and related subjects, as well as a steady stream of publications appearing in top journals.

Current & Previous positions

  • From 2011- ICREA senior research professor at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (UPF-CSIC) Barcelona. Creation of the Language Evolution Lab as part of the Complex Systems Department at this institute.
  • 1996-2012 Founder and acting director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris (until 2012). This laboratory is a fundamental research unit, spawning off various ph.D’s and training post-doc
  • 1989-1995 Co-founder and first chairman of the computer science department at the University of Brussels (VUB). The department grew from
  • 1983-2011 Founder and director of the VUB Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Around 250 researchers have worked in this laboratory on nati
  • 1983-2001 Full Professor of Computer Science at the University of Brussels VUB.
  • 1982 Researcher at Schlumberger labs Clamart (France) Focus on knowledge engineering, signal processing and AI technology transfer.
  • 1980 Researcher at Schlumberger-Doll research labs (a geophysical measurement company) in Ridgefield, Ct USA. Leader of the geophysical expert systems group.

Additional Educational Activities:

  • Regular part-time temporary professor at Open University (the Netherlands), Theseus Business School (France), ENS/Ecole Polytechnique/EHSS Paris (Master Sciences Cognitives) (France).
  • Distance education: Developed 60 hours of televised courses in fundamentals of AI and complex systems science, developed AI textbook, software for Dutch Open University.
  • Visiting professor Jao Tong University (Beijing), University of Accra (Ghana), University of Hamburg and Politecnico di Milano.