John Licato

John Licato

Assistant Professor, IPFW


Aug 2007 - May 2010


University of South Alabama

Magna cum laude

Summary / Research Interests

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Indiana University/Purdue University - Fort Wayne (IPFW). I am currently starting up a new research lab: the Analogical Constructivism and Reasoning Lab (ACoRL), which will carry out cross-disciplinary research in developmental robotics, analogical constructivism, AI, logic, and more.

I was a computer science Ph.D. student at RPI (graduated May 2015), studying under Professor Selmer Bringsjord. My primary research area is computational modeling of analogical reasoning. Selmer and I have coined the term Analogico-Deductive Reasoning to refer to the intersection between analogical and hypothetico-deductive reasoning so frequently seen in human reasoning, but so rarely performed well in artificial systems. 

More generally, I'm interested in AI---particularly in that intersection between cognitive science, computational psychology, philosophy of mind, and machine learning. I'm researching the nature of the structures required for higher-level reasoning, and how to model such structures in a way that provides the flexibility required by analogy.

I developed a simulation environment called PAGI World that can be run on all major operating systems, which can test AI systems written in almost any programming language, which allows researchers to compare their approaches on common ground.

Other interests include: Robotics and higher-level cognitive systems for them, applications of artificial reasoning, philosophy of AI, philosophy of logic, cognitive architectures, and (later) Piagetian theories of cognitive development.

Various Projects

IBM's WATSON / Brilliant Boardroom - I led the team at RPI which was given exclusive access to IBM's WATSON system, and we produced a demonstration called the Brilliant Boardroom (BB) which integrated IBM services with RPI services that grew out of our own research.

PAGI World - I designed, programmed, and am currently managing a team which is developing a physically realistic simulation environment called PAGI World, which we use to evaluate cognitive systems and models of analogy.

DCEC* - I have been a primary contributor over the past few years of research on, and the development of tools to work with, the Deontic Cognitive Event Calculus (DCEC*).

RAIR Website - I led a team of graduate students, and together we redesigned and updated our research lab's website.

Triple Helix AIDS Prevention - Working with Ron Eglash and Audrey Bennett, I designed and programmed a system that would allow poorer residents of Ghana, who typically have access to cell phones with texting but not necessarily internet service, to text their location to an automated system that would tell them the nearest location where they could get access to condoms. Because they would not necessarily know their exact location, my idea was to allow them to simply mention landmarks near them (street signs, cities, well known sites) and the system would attempt to locate them based on that.

META-R - I developed an analogical reasoning system based on Stephen Owen’s Flexible Heuristic Matcher (FHM), augmenting it by implementing heuristics based on newer methods; e.g., LP-rounding.

Eglet - A project I created to experiment with deductive inference using C.S. Pierce's Existential Graphs.


School of Science Graduate Student Council Secretary, Fall 2011 - Fall 2012

School of Science Graduate Student Council Representative, Fall 2011 - Spring 2013

ACM Student Chapter President, Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

ACM Student Chapter Vice President, Fall 2008 - Spring 2009


RPI Founder's Award of Excellence, 2012.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon, International Computing Honor Society, Inducted 2010

University of South Alabama President's Scholars List, Fall 2009

South Alabama ACM Student Chapter Oustanding Student Scholarship, 2009.

Best Paper, 7th International Conference on Computing, Communications and Control Technologies (CCCT 2009) for "A Voice Operated Tour Planning System for Autonomous Mobile Robots"

Best Undergraduate Research, ACM Fall 2008 Mid-Southeast Regional Conference, for "A Voice Operated Tour Planning System for Autonomous Mobile Robots"

National SMART Grant, Fall 2008 - Spring 2009


It is redundant to maintain my publications here. For my most up-to-date listing of publications, please see my google scholar page.