Recommended Websites

General Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Resources

We do not maintain a comprehensive list of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science web resources. However this is a short list of web sites that we feel represent our subject in an accurate fashion.

What is AI? - This site is maintained by John McCarthy, one of the founders of the field, and he keeps it up-to-date. It is a good place to start exploring the nature of Artificial Intelligence.

AAAI AI Topics - The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence maintains a large website full of resources. This particular page is aimed at young people and provides material they might find useful in school projects as well as suggestions for reference material.

In Our Time: Artificial Intelligence. A BBC Radio 4 broadcast from December 2005, available via Listen Again from the BBC Website.


Libraries and Collections

University of Edinburgh Informatics Collection

The University of Edinburgh's Informatics Collection is housed in the Main Library, George Square and includes approximately 140 current journal subscriptions and some 3,500 books plus access for University staff and students to numerous online resources. Information about admission for visitors can be found under "Membership, Admission, Registration and Access"

Information about AI resources, especially with reference to the 2002 fire which destroyed the University's AI Library is available from Library Services following the AI Library fire.

The Informatics Digitisation Project arose as a result of the destruction of the AI Collection. Existing Open Access: Research reports, preprints and postprints are also available online.


Grand Challenges in Computer Research

The UKCRC sponsors the formation of Grand Challenges in Computer Research.

"The chief purpose of the formulation and promulgation of a grand challenge is the advancement of science. A grand challenge represents a commitment by a significant scientific community to work together towards a common goal, agreed to be valuable and achievable within a predicted timescale. The challenge is formulated by the scientists themselves as a focus for the research that they wish to pursue in any case. It is independent of any political initiatives or prior allocation of special funding. It may involve a thousand man-years of research effort, drawn from many countries and spread over ten years or more."

The following is the list of current Grand Challenge web sites. We feel that there is a place of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Research within all these challenges. However GC5, The Architecture of Brain and Mind, is of most obvious interest to AISB members. We are also aware of significant Artificial Intelligence involvement in both GC6, Dependable Systems Evolution and GC8, Learning for Life.

GC1: In Vivo - In Silico

GC2/4: Ubiquitous Computing: Experience, Design and Science

GC3: Memories for Life

GC5: The Architecture of Brain and Mind

GC6: Dependable Systems Evolution

GC7: Journeys in Nonclassical Computation

GC8: Learning for Life


Degrees in Artificial Intelligence

It is impractical to list all UK degrees with significant Artificial Intelligence components. However the British Council maintains a good list.

The following links are to respectable degree course web sites.

Suitable keywords when searching for relevant degrees on these sites are Artificial Intelligence; Cognitive Science and Robotics

UCAS general course search

Hobson's (Postgraduate) - more information information available about some courses.

Education UK (run by the British Council)


Related Organisations

The following is an incomplete list of AI related organisation.

The Association for the advancement Artificial Intelligence

The European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence.


Natural Computing Applications Forum



YouTube video of the Lighthill debate from 1973

In 1973, Professor Sir James Lighthill was asked by Parliament to evaluate the state of AI research in the United Kingdom. His report, now called the Lighthill report, criticized the utter failure of AI to achieve its "grandiose objectives." He concluded that nothing being done in AI couldn't be done in other sciences. He specifically mentioned the problem of "combinatorial explosion" or "intractability", which implied that many of AI's most successful algorithms would grind to a halt on real world problems and were only suitable for solving "toy" versions.

The report was contested in a debate broadcast in the BBC "Controversy" series in 1973. The debate "The general purpose robot is a mirage" from the Royal Institute was Lighthill versus the team of Michie, McCarthy and Gregory.

The report led to the near-complete dismantling of AI research in England.

Starring: James Lighthill, Donald Michie, Richard Gregory and John McCarthy.