Professor Anthony Cohn

Anthony Cohn


Turing Fellow

Partner Institution


Tony Cohn is Professor of Automated Reasoning at the University of Leeds. He 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 describing RCC won the 2020 KR Test-of-Time award.  He was awarded the 2021 Herbert A. Simon Prize for Advances in Cognitive Systems for for his research on qualitative representation and reasoning about space and time, cognitive vision and robotics, and visually-grounded language processing.

He is Editor-in-Chief Spatial Cognition and Computation and 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 remains a Director of KR Inc. 

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,  and is also a Fellow of AAAI, AISB,  EurAI (Founding Fellow), AAIA, the BCS, and the IET.  He was a member of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 Sub Panel 11 (Computer Science and Informatics) of Panel B.

Research interests

His early interest in knowledge representation and reasoning methods, in particular on taxonomic knowledge and (qualitative) spatial knowledge remains a continuing focus. He has published extensively on methods for machine learning for activity recognition from video data, using qualitative spatial representations, and on grounding language to vision. He has developed a number of ontology-based and other decision support systems for the built environment. He has worked on aspects of robotics including robotic vision and manipulation in cluttered environments. He is currently collaborating with humanities scholars in an ESRC/NSF project investigating the use of qualitative spatial techniques for analysing spatial information in texts. He is also interested in analysing hippocampal single cell recording data.