Melanie Mitchell

Computer Science Department
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science
Portland State University

External Professor
Santa Fe Institute

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Biographical Sketch:

Melanie Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, and External Professor and Member of the Science Board at the Santa Fe Institute. She attended Brown University, where she majored in mathematics and did research in astronomy, and the University of Michigan, where she received a Ph.D. in computer science, Her dissertation, in collaboration with her advisor Douglas Hofstadter, was the development of Copycat, a computer program that makes analogies. She has held faculty or professional positions at the University of Michigan, the Santa Fe Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the OGI School of Science and Engineering, and Portland State University. She is the author or editor of five books and over 80 scholarly papers in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and complex systems. Her most recent book, Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford, 2009), won the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award. It was also named by as one of the ten best science books of 2009, and was longlisted for the Royal Society's 2010 book prize. Melanie originated the Santa Fe Institute's Complexity Explorer project, which offers online courses and other educational resources related to the field of complex systems.

Curriculum Vitae


2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall, 2016: Winter, 2017: Spring, 2017:

Recent Courses

Spring, 2016: Winter, 2016: Fall, 2015:


My research interests: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and complex systems. Evolutionary computation and artificial life. Understanding how natural systems perform computation, and how to use ideas from natural systems to develop new kinds of computational systems. Cognitive science, particularly computer modeling of perception and analogy-making, emergent computation and representation, and philosophical foundations of cognitive science.

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