It is very exciting for me to be at the beginning of this new conference with the name DAI. DAI was the original name of the multi-agent field starting in 1980 with the first workshop. I will recount some of the early history of the field and how the research topics have changed over time. I will then discuss my personal reflections on coordination.
Victor Lesser received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1973. He is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Founding Director of the Multi-Agent Systems Laboratory in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His major research focus is on the control and organization of complex AI systems. He has pioneered work in the development of the blackboard architecture and its control structure, approximate processing for use in control and real-time AI, self-aware control, and a wide variety of techniques for the coordination of and negotiation among multiple agents. He was the system architect for first fully developed blackboard architecture (HEARSAY-II), when he was a research computer scientist at CMU from 1972 thru 1976, and is considered one of the founders of the Multi-Agent field starting with his early work in 1978. He has worked in application areas such as sensor networks for vehicle tracking and weather monitoring, speech and sound understanding, information gathering on the internet, peer-to-peer information retrieval, intelligent user interfaces, distributed task allocation and scheduling, and virtual agent enterprises. Professor Lesser's research accomplishments have been recognized by many major awards over the years. He received the IJCAI-09 Award for Research Excellence. He is also a Founding Fellow of AAAI and an IEEE Fellow. He was General Chair of the first international conference on Multi-Agent Systems (ICMAS) in 1995, and Founding President of the International Foundation of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (IFAAMAS). In 2007, to honor his contributions to the field of multi-agent systems, IFAAMAS established the “Victor Lesser Distinguished Dissertation Award.” He also received a Special Recognition Award for his foundational research in generalized coordination technologies from the Information Processing Technology Office at DARPA.