Thomas Dean

Thomas Dean

Adjunct Professor of Computer Science

Contact Information

Box 1910
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Email: tld at
Personal home page:

Research Areas

Artificial Intelligence
Computational Neuroscience
Machine Learning

Courses Taught

CSCI1480   Building Intelligent Robots
CSCI1410   Applied Artifical Intelligence
CSCI0090-C   Talking with Computers

Research Interests

Thomas Dean’s general research interests include automated temporal and spatial reasoning, planning, robotics, learning, and probabilistic inference. He is particularly interested in problems in which the notions of uncertainty and risk are complicated by the imposition of a limited time for deliberation and action. When the problems faced by an agent in a dynamic environment are complex, one typically must trade time for precision in making decisions: How long should you spend deciding what to pack when rushing to catch a plane? A similar tradeoff arises in deciding how much time and effort to expend in learning about a new or evolving environment: When visiting a new city, how much effort should you put into learning the streets and landmarks?

A more recent project involves building a probabilistic model of the neocortex. The basic tools for his research are derived from probability, statistics, Bayesian decision theory, and the design and analysis of algorithms. The applications involve mobile robots that perform such tasks as search and rescue, as well as and disembodied “knowbots” that operate on the World Wide Web.