Professor Anthony (Tony) G Cohn, FREng, FLSW, CEng, CITP

Professor Anthony (Tony) G Cohn, FREng, FLSW, CEng, CITP


Anthony (Tony) Cohn holds BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Essex where he studied under Pat Hayes. He spent 10 years at the University of Warwick before moving to Leeds in 1990 where he founded  a research group working on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning with a particular focus on qualitative spatial/spatio-temporal  reasoning, the best known being the well cited Region Connection Calculus (RCC) – the KR-92 paper which introduced this calculus gained the KR-20 Test-of-Time Classic Paper Award.  He has been Editor-in-Chief Spatial Cognition and Computation since 2003 band has been Chairman/President of the UK AI Society SSAISB, the European Association for Artificial Intelligence  (EurAI),  KR inc, the IJCAI Board of Trustees and was the Editor-in-Chief for  Artificial Intelligence 2007-2014 and of the AAAI Press 2004-14. He currently chairs the Steering Committee of the Spatial Cognition conference. He was a Director of KR Inc 2000-2023. He is the recipient of the 2015 IJCAI Donald E Walker Distinguished Service Award which honours senior scientists in AI for contributions and service to the field during their careers, as well as the 2012 AAAI Distinguished Service Award for “extraordinary and sustained service to the artificial intelligence community”. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering,  the Learned Society of Wales, and is also a Fellow of AAAIAISB,  EurAI (Founding Fellow), AAIA, the BCS, and the IET.  He is the recipient of the 2021 Herbert A. Simon Prize for Advances in Cognitive Systems.  He has held the posts of Head of School and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Computing in the past.

He was Programme Chair of the European AI Conference ECAI-94,  KR-98 and COSIT-05,Workshop Chair of IJCAI 1995,  Conference Chair of KR 2000, IJCAI 2003. He has given >110  Invited/keynote during his career. He has co-organised five Dagstuhls (05491, 07311, 10131, 10412, 14081), been on many programme committees for workshops and conferences, on the editorial board of DAKE, AI Communications (AICOM), the Applied Ontology Journal,  and was Review Co-Editor of the journal Artificial Intelligence and on the Policy Committee of Electronic Transactions on AI (ETAI) and on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Logic.  He is a member of the UK EPSRC Peer Review College and of the UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC), and was a Director of KR Inc. 2000-2023.  He was an area co-editor for the UK Government FORESIGHT Cognitive Systems project, and advised the FORESIGHT Intelligent Systems Infrastructure project. He has advised a number of overseas funding agencies, having been a member of two CNRS and three SFI programme review panels, chair of a Flanders research evaluation panel,  a member of a DFG SFB review panel and an FCT panel, and chair of a programme review panel at NICTA. He has also reviewed for the EU, both on evaluation panels and on individual periodic EU project reviews. He was a member of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 Sub Panel 11 (Computer Science and Informatics) of Panel B.

He wrote some limericks on AI for the Microsoft Research Limerick competition at AAAI-20, including the winning entry.

Research interests

His research interests have always centred on knowledge representation and spatial information in particular. His early research concentrated on many sorted logics. His current and recent research interests range from theoretical work on spatial calculi and spatial ontologies, commonsense reasoning to cognitive vision, grounding language in vision,  detection of archaeological residues using remote sensing techniques, modelling spatial information in the hippocampus, integrating utility records and sensor data concerning the location of underground assets and decision support systems for tunnel maintenance and construction. He has received substantial funding from a variety of sources including EPSRC,  DARPA, the European Union, the Alan Turing Insitute and various industrial sources. Work from the Cogvis project won the British Computer Society Machine Intelligence prize in 2004. The VAULT system based on the MTU and VISTA projects provides the world’s first real time delivery of integrated utility records nationwide and won the Built Environment category of the IET Innovation Awards in 2012 (also Highly commended in the IT category) and the 2012 NJUG Awards in the "Avoiding Damage” category.  A major focus at present is on evaluation of AI  systems, in particular of Foundation Models, including Large Language Models (such as GPT and Bard); this work is funded by the the Alan Turing Insitute where he is seconded for 50% of his time and is Foundation Models Lead, and also by the OECD as part of their AI and the Future of Skills project.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc Computing (Hons) University of Essex
  • PhD Computer Science, University of Essex
  • CEng
  • CITP

Professional memberships

  • FREng
  • FEurAI
  • FBCS
  • FIET

Student education

Artificial Intelligence.

Research groups and institutes

  • Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>