Douglas Richard Hofstadter,
b. New York City, Feb. 15, 1945
College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science
Adjunct Professor of History and Philosophy of Science,
Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Psychology
Douglas Hofstadter is College Professor of cognitive science and computer science, director of the Center for Research on Concepts and
Cognition, and adjunct professor of philosophy, psychology, history and philosophy of science, and comparative literature.
His Pulitzer-prize-winning book Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (1979) has had considerable impact on people in many
disciplines, ranging from philosophy to mathematics to artificial intelligence to music, and beyond. He has written several other books and
many articles, and for a number of years wrote a column for Scientific American.
Hofstadter's research is driven by a long-standing interest in creativity and consciousness. To study these abstract ideas in a concrete
manner, he has focused on designing and implementing, in collaboration with his graduate students, computer models of high-level perception
and analogical thought in carefully-designed idealized domains.
Several programs that perceive structures and discover subtle as well as simple analogies by means of a tight interplay between concepts in
long-term memory and perceptual agents in short-term memory have been realized over the years; these include Copycat and Tabletop. The
Letter Spirit project, modeling the perception and creation of diverse artistic styles, has been under way for several years, and a first
implementation has recently been completed. The Metacat project, which deepens Copycat by bringing in episodic memory and some degree of
self-awareness, has also been implemented in a preliminary fashion.
Hofstadter also studies and writes about cognitive phenomena in a number of other areas. Some of these are: the relationship between words
and concepts; the mechanisms underlying human error-making, especially in language; the nature of sexist language and default imagery; the
mechanisms underlying discovery and invention in mathematics, especially geometry; the process of creative literary translation, especially
of poetry; the challenge of sorting the wheat from the chaff in AI and cognitive science; and the philosophy of mind, consciousness, and the
sense of self.