The background is a program
(not an animated image or video).
Drag and scroll the background to see.
on a background div.
See the JS.
I lecture various Computer Science courses
here in DCU.
for current courses.
Current and former courses include the following.
Topics related to AI:
Topics related to Web applications:
Topics related to Unix:
for 3rd year or 4th year or Masters projects.
My big idea is the site
This site, the culmination of years of thought and work in AI,
was launched in 2018.
It aims to become one of the most fun places in the world to code.
a global archive of user-submitted programs that run in the browser.
Programs can be run, source code viewed, copied ("cloned"), edited, and run again, all in the browser.
All programs are in
The site supports physics, and import of 3D models.
Jump on in.
Go to the site.
Start browsing and running the existing programs (called "Worlds").
And then clone and write your own!
on the site.
Click to run World: Collision World
at Ancient Brain
A "World" with physics and sound.
Mouse drag and zoom camera.
As you see, Ancient Brain
Worlds can be embedded on other websites, like YouTube videos.
I am interested in
non-symbolic (or sub-symbolic) Artificial Intelligence
I am interested in the origins
both the long evolutionary history of the species,
and the long developmental history of each individual.
I am interested in the vast substrate
of animal sensorimotor skills
and sub-linguistic knowledge representation
that lies beneath all the high-level (and recently-evolved) human cognitive skills that we focus so much attention on.
This substrate to me is where the hard part of AI
You can start at my Research page
My older research was on
among competing, co-operating
and overlapping non-symbolic behaviours.
I am interested in highly-decentralised
Society of Mind models.
For a simple overview,
there are some
that you can play.
Multiple Minds in the same Body:
My PhD thesis:
"Action Selection methods using Reinforcement Learning"
- a Model of Mind whereby
different parts of the mind modify their behaviour
based on whether or not they are succeeding in getting the body
to execute their actions.
Where this is headed is towards a complex, overlapping, competing,
Society of Mind based on Reinforcement Learning.
I think I may have been the first to use
Unhappiness based models
of Action Selection using Reinforcement Learning numbers
- that is, based on differences between the Q-values.
My PhD "family tree" (Who supervised who)
My research on Action Selection
led to a concept that I called the
This is an idea for helping AI scale up,
by enabling the construction of large, complex minds
by teams of multiple dispersed authors.
"World-Wide-Mind" research group
Under this view, my PhD can be seen as a model of AI
where parts of the mind do not understand each other
(e.g. could be written by different authors).
My PhD can also be seen as a model of AI
that can survive broken links.
For an introduction to the WWM idea
Humphrys, Mark (2001),
"The World-Wide-Mind: Draft Proposal",
Dublin City University,
School of Computing, Technical Report no. CA-0301,
For short introductions see the papers at
The WWM tried various technologies to realise this dream,
made the dream finally a reality in
The old prototype site
Runs of Worlds took place on the server-side.
Data format: XML.
Data format: None. JSON optional.
The Turing Test
I hooked up an AI chatbot called "MGonz"
to the Internet in 1989,
where it had adventures that people still talk about.
The story is told in
"How my program passed the Turing Test"
My program was
one of the first AI programs online.
I was the first person to put a chatbot on the Internet that was disguised as a person.
MGonz is written up as a book chapter:
Humphrys, Mark (2008),
"How my program passed the Turing Test",
Chapter 15 of
Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical and Methodological
Issues in the Quest for the Thinking Computer,
Robert Epstein, Gary Roberts and Grace Beber (eds.),
I have some general material on
The Turing Test.
* help Help
* who Nice VM Who
* scoop The truth!
* get Get the p program for your machine
* p Query VM/SCS printer queues
* p :printer: Query specific printer
What my chatbot system in 1989 looked like.
(Chatbot written in Lisp.
Front end in Rexx.)
AI in general
I have some writings on
AI in general.
I have written
for New Scientist
Popular-science introduction to the
biologically-inspired type of AI
See also my Philosophy and Future of AI
I gave a talk
on the future of AI,
"The Hardest Problem in the History of Science",
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London,
Computers and Internet
I have been on the Internet since 1987,
and have enjoyed watching it grow up over those years,
driven largely by the brilliant idea of embedding the navigation in hypertext.
I think I have learnt a few things over this time,
and there is some
less formal material
on my Computers and Internet page
I have put up a few items on
The Internet in the 1980s.
My website has been running since 1994.
See an article I wrote in 1999,
which summarises some of my experience of the Internet over the years, called
"Why on earth would I link to you?".
I did a post about Wikipedia,
the site that
everyone likes to use,
and everyone feels nervous using:
In defence of Wikipedia.
Some programs I have written for my website:
- A custom
My site functions as an
error-tolerant web server.
When you enter a bad URL,
instead of giving you a bland "404 Not Found" message,
the web server redirects to my own
Error Handling script,
which tries to guess the URL you should have typed, using
case-insensitive and partial-string matching.
Try it out by entering
a bad address.
My custom search engine:
Help on search.
(Written in PHP with a grep at the core.)
History and Genealogy
My History and Genealogy site is at
Since 1983, I have done
extensive research on many topics, families and houses
in Irish, English and Scottish family history
(including local history and motoring history).
I have published on this, and one of the most interesting aspects
is how to present this complex information online
There are now over 2,400 public web pages.
Maybe between 5,000 and 10,000 A4 pages if printed out.
Some of this has become part of my professional work.
I have published papers
I have supervised
Undergraduate and Masters projects
based on this work.
There has also been some media coverage.
Updates to the project are at the
The holy grail of my entire family tree:
The Blennerhassett problem.
For 35 years I tried to prove the descent above.
In 2020 I finally proved it.
Reverse Ahnentafel Parser.