Don Perlis

3135 A.V. Williams Building
(301) 405-2685
(301) 405-2685
Ph.D., New York University (Mathematics) and Ph.D., University of Rochester (Computer Science)

Don Perlis is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and a member of the university's Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS).

His research is mostly in artificial intelligence, including commonsense reasoning; flexible, domain-general, self-adjusting autonomous systems; and philosophical issues surrounding language, the mind and consciousness. The primary current thrust aims to test an ambitious "commonsense-core hypothesis"— that there is a modest number of general-purpose anomaly-handling strategies that humans use (and that machines can be programmed to use) which are sufficient to allow us to muddle through a multitude of daily situations for which we are not highly trained. This should then allow the development of robust and flexible autonomous systems that learn from their mistakes, rather than totally break down.

Perlis has given keynote lectures nationally and internationally, and has published more than 150 articles, some of which are among the most-cited in their respective journals.

He has doctorate degrees in mathematics from New York University and in computer science from the University of Rochester.



Elgot-Drapkin JJ, Perlis D.  1990.  Reasoning situated in time I: Basic concepts. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intellige. 2(1):75-98.


Gordon D, Perlis D.  1989.  Explicitly biased generalization. Computational Intelligence. 5(2):67-81.

Perlis D.  1989.  Truth and meaning (research note). Artificial intelligence. 39(2):245-250.

Kraus S, Perlis D.  1989.  Assessing others' knowledge and ignorance. Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Methodologies for Intelligent Systems.


Perlis D.  1988.  Autocircumscription. Artificial Intelligence. 36(2):223-236.

Kanal L, Perlis D.  1988.  Uniform accountability for multiple modes of reasoning. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning. 2(3):233-246.

Perlis D.  1988.  Commonsense set theory. Meta-Level Architectures and Reflection.


Perlis D.  1987.  Circumscription as introspection. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Methodologies for intelligent systems.

Perlis D.  1987.  Circumscribing with sets. Artificial Intelligence. 31(2):201-211.

Miller M, Perlis D.  1987.  Proving self-utterances. Journal of Automated Reasoning. 3(3):329-338.

Perlis D.  1987.  How can a program mean. Proceedings of the 10th Int'l Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Drapkin J, Miller M, Perlis D.  1987.  Life on a desert island. Proc. Workshop on The Frame Problem in Artificial Intelligence.


Perlis D, Hall R.  1986.  Intentionality as internality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 9(01):151-152.

Perlis D.  1986.  On the consistency of commonsense reasoning. Computational Intelligence. 2(1):180-190.

Drapkin J, Perlis D.  1986.  A preliminary excursion into step-logics. Proceedings of the ACM SIGART international symposium on Methodologies for intelligent systems -.

Drapkin J, Perlis D.  1986.  Step-logics: An alternative approach to limited reasoning. Proceedings of the European Conf. on Artificial Intelligence.

Perlis D.  1986.  Self-reference, knowledge, belief, and modality. Proc 5th National Conference on AI.


Perlis D.  1985.  Languages with self-reference I: Foundations. Artificial Intelligence. 25(3):301-322.

Minker J, Perlis D.  1985.  Computing protected circumscription. The Journal of Logic Programming. 2(4):235-249.


Minker J, Perlis D.  1984.  Protected circumscription. Proc. Workshop on Non-Monotonic Reasoning.

Minter J, Perlis D.  1984.  Applications or Protected Circumscription. 7th International Conference on Automated Deduction, Napa, California, USA, May 14-16, 1984: proceedings. 170:414-414.

Perlis D.  1984.  Non-monotonicity and real-time reasoning. AAAI Workshop on Nonmonotonic Reasoning.


Frisch AM, Perlis D.  1981.  A re-evaluation of story grammars*. Cognitive Science. 5(1):79-86.



Perlis D.  1976.  Group algebras and model theory. Illinois journal of mathematics. 20(2):298-305.


Perlis D.  1972.  An extension of Ackermann's set theory. Journal of Symbolic Logic. 37(4):703-704.