Professor of Computer Science
His main interests are artificial intelligence and the connections between cognition, computation, and evolution. He is also interested in the use of technology in music and other arts.
His recent research includes projects on the development of new genetic programming techniques, the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the study of quantum computation, the interdisciplinary study of human and machine cognition, and the development of technologies to support inquiry-based education.
Professor Spector is also an active editor, reviewer, and organizer for scientific journals and conferences. He recently received the highest honor bestowed by the National Science Foundation for excellence in teaching and research, the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. He has held the College's MacArthur Chair and has served as the dean of the School of Cognitive Science and as the elected faculty member of Hampshire's board of trustees.
In this course we will read primary literature on mathematical models of conflict and cooperation (game theory), and we will write computer programs to replicate reported results and explore related hypotheses. We will also discuss applications of game theory in many areas, possibly including economics, politics, war and peace, responses to climate change, and evolutionary biology. Prerequisite: Strong computer programming skills.
Can androids fall in love? Could a planet have a mind of its own? How might we communicate with alien life forms? Will it ever be possible for two people to "swap minds"? How about a person and a robot? Might we someday be able to buy memories, record dreams, or "read" books by eating pills? Cognitive science research can shed light on many of these questions, with answers that are often as strange and as wonderful as the inventions of science fiction authors. In this course we will read and view science fiction while simultaneously reading current scientific literature about the mind, the brain, and intelligent machines. The science fiction will provide a framework for our discussions, but the real goal of the course is to provide a tour of issues in cognitive science that will prepare students for more advanced cognitive science courses.
Students in this course will become members of research teams focusing on projects designated by the instructor. Projects will involve open research questions in artificial intelligence, artificial life, or computational models of cognitive systems. They will be oriented toward the production of publishable results and/or distributable software systems. Students will gain skills that will be useful for Division III project work and graduate-level research. Prerequisite detail: Strong computer programming skills