Research

Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Strategic Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology

Mary-Anne is a leading authority on AI with transdisciplinary strengths in Social Robotics, Machine Learning, Robot Ethics, IP Law and Privacy Law. She is Founder and Director of the Magic Lab, Australia's largest and leading research group in Social Robotics at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

She is project leader on 12 national competitive Australian Research Council projects, nine as First Chief Investigator and seven with International Partners. In addition, I am research leader for a range of projects with funding and support from CBA, Stockland, IBM, Google, Telstra, Play Communications, Samsung, Boeing, The French Academy of Science, British Council, The Austrian Government, DEST, SWIFT and Denmark's National Bank.

Australian Research Council Research Projects

1. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2016 - 2018 $380,000

Project Title: Robust Intelligence: Rational Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams

Partners: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden), Henri Prade (CNRS), Pavlos Peppas (Patras Universoty, Greece)

Summary: Intelligent agents exercise profound and growing impact in business and society. However, significant problems arise in intelligent agent deployment as their theoretical underpinnings do not ensure rational decision making in complex real-world settings. This project will bridge the gap between theory and practice with an innovative framework for rational decision making under risk and uncertainty. It will open the door to previously unimaginable transformational technologies that will drive new entrepreneurial opportunities in agent-based global services.

2. Australia Research Council Linkage Project 2012 - 2014 $335,000 + significant in-kind support

Project Title: A Framework for Physical and Social Collaboration: Towards the Smarter Planet Vision

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams, and Benjamin Johnston UTS.

Partner: Glenn Wightwick, Director, IBM Research and Development, and Chief Technologist IBM Australia

Summary: This project will make intelligent collaborative technologies a reality by advancing the theory of collaborative action and developing an innovative framework and practical methods which will allow intelligent systems to undertake the collaborative actions required for applications in transport, energy management, sustainability, and healthcare.

3. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2012 - 2014 $320,000

Project Title: Adaptive Cyber-Physical Technologies with Attention Driven Common-sense Behaviours

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams

Partner: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden)

Summary: Designing intelligent cyber-physical systems for open, complex and changing environments presents enormous scientific challenges. This project will develop an innovative framework, methods and tools that provide cyber-physical technologies with attention based common-sense capabilities for adapting to new, unexpected and unforeseen situations.

4. Australia Research Council Linkage Project 2011 - 2014 $280,000 + significant in kind support

Project Title: Establishing a Next Generation Framework to Determine the Influence of Intelligent Water Metering on Householder Attitudes and Behaviours

Chief Investigators: Stuart B White, Rodney A Stewart, Mary-Anne Williams, Damien P Giurco, Kelvin R O'Halloran

Partners: Mid Coast Water and the Institute of Sustainable Futures

Summary: This project will test competing theories on how householders respond to interactive water consumption data from smart meters. The outcome is a novel framework for intelligent water management; underpinned by innovative research into causal mechanisms linking data communication to knowledge, and the impact of knowledge on attitudes and behaviours.

5. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2008 - 2011 $270,000

Project Title: Developing and Managing Sustainable Technology-enabled Innovation Capabilities

Chief Investigators: Steve Elliot (University of Sydney) and Mary-Anne Williams

Summary: This project will help organisations develop sustainable innovation capabilities using disruptive technologies.

6. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2007 - 2011 $340,000

Project Title: Planning, Communication, and Collaboration in Cognitive Systems

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams

Partner: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden)

Summary: This project develops a better understanding of collaboration in complex environments.

7. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2004 - 2007 $150,000

Project Title: Intelligent Agent and Semantic Web empowered eFinance: A Knowledge Management Approach to enable and sustain Innovation

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Steve Elliot (University of Sydney)

Partner: Dieter Fensel (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

Summary: This research project made strong theoretical advances by developing an integrated and scalable knowledge engineering approach to the problems confronting Australian Industry.

8. Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2002 - 2006 $200,000

Project Title: Agent-Oriented Concept Management

Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams

Partner: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden).

Summary: In order for agents to communicate effectively they must share concepts, and attribute the same meaning to shared concepts. Concept management is a new area of research with important application to intelligent systems.

9. Australia Research Council Project Large 2000 - 2003 $200,000

Project Title: Information and Knowledge Integration

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams

Partner: Grigoris Antoniou (University of Crete, Greece)

Summary: One of the key issues in global information infrastructures like the World Wide Web and enterprise networks is the ability to combine information from different sources in meaningful ways. The problem of information and knowledge integration lies at the heart of the project.

10. Australia Research Council Large Project 1998 - 2001 $180,000

Project Title: Exception-Tolerant Information Systems for Managing Uncertain Information

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams

Partners: Didier Dubois and Henri Prade (CNRS, France).

Summary: This project designed and developed exception-tolerant techniques to allow business systems to perform effectively when using qualitatively uncertain information.

11. Australia Research Council Large Project 1997 - 2000 $200,000

Project Title: Reasoning with Changing and Incomplete Information Project

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Grigoris Antoniou

Summary: Developed a decision making framework for handling decisions based on changing and incomplete information using techniques from Knowledge Representation and Reasoning.

12. Australia Research Council Large Project 1996 - 1999 $170,000

Project Title: Entrenchment Based Reasoning about Action.

Chief Investigators: Norman Foo, UNSW/University of Sydney, Pavlos Peppas and Mary-Anne Williams.

Summary: This project developed innovative algorithms for challenging planning problems that allowed for changing requirements.


Major External Research Projects

13. CBA Social Robotics Research Partnership 

14. CBA, Stockland, ATN Social Robotics Undergraduate Projects Partnership

15. IBM PhD Fellowship 2016 - 2017: Mahya Knox, Design Thinking for Data Analytics US$20,000

16. IBM PhD Fellowship 2015 - 2016: Mahya Knox, Data Analytics, Innovation and Competitive Advantage US$20,000

17. CBA-UTS Data Analytics Project, shifting the organisation from a static business intelligence mindset to an agile and predictive data analytics mindset $1,200,000

18. Euro DESCA Project 2014, FP7 Model Consortium VOICE: Virtual Open Incubation Ecosystem - This project involves 8 University Partners. It aims to help bridge the gap in the broader entrepreneurial development ecosystem by providing an international, virtual innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem based on open innovation, crowdsourcing and co-creation principles; where individual users and start-ups meet, find collaborators and partners, co-create ideas and prototypes, utilise the wisdom of the crowd to assess the value of the project idea and/or prototype, share and find connections/partners, business and technical information, knowledge on start-up related topics, online tools, online content and open educational material as well as access to capital and crowd-funding. Funding: €3.4M Partners: Universities in Denmark, France and Greece.

19. Australia Japan Foundation 2014, Social Robotics Collaboration with University of Tokyo and University of Osaka with two ECRs Xun Wang, Benjamin Johnston. Funding:AUD$20,000

20. IBM PhD Fellowship 2012 - 2013: Wei Wang Social Network for Robots US$20,000

21. Social Robotics 2011 - 2013: Developing a Framework for Human-Robot Interaction within the PR2 robot community (MIT, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Tokyo, University of California Berkeley, Bosch) and Willow Garage $300,000 UTS Funding

22. IBM PhD Fellowship 2011 - 2012: Risk Management and Planning US$20,000

23. Endeavour PhD Fellowship 2012: 2012, Shan Chen 6 month visit to Indiana University Bloomington. Privacy in Cyber-Physical Systems $25,000

24. IBM PhD Fellowship2011 - 12: Rony Novianto Attention Architectures US$20,000

25. Endeavour PhD Fellowship 2011: Rony Novianto 6 month visit to Lund University Sweden. Cognitive Robotics $25,000

26. Endeavour PhD Fellowship 2011:, IBA, Karachi, Pakistan 6 month visit to UTS: Belief Revision for Robots $25,000

27. Endeavour Research Fellowship 2010: Sajjad Haider IBA, Karachi, Pakistan 6 month visit to UTS: Internet of Things, $25,000

28. IBM PhD Fellowship 2010 - 11: Xun Wang Risk Management US$20,000

29. UTS Partnership Project + IBM Faculty Award 2007 - 2008 $80,000 (cash) $100,000 (in kind)

Project Title: Cognitive Agents and Robots in Virtual Worlds, Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Glenn Wightwick IBM Australia. Summary: Innovative methods for objects in virtual worlds and simulated environments.

30. UTS Challenge Grant 2006 - 2008 $68,000

Project Title: A Transdisciplinary Framework for Innovation and Collaboration

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams (Project Leader) across 6 Faculties involving 15 Researchers.

Summary: Innovation and collaboration are critical for Australia's future growth, strategic positioning and competitive advantage.

31. DEST China Australia Research Grant 2006 - 2008 $40,000

Project Title: Practical Cognitive Agents

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams, Xiaoping Chen, China, and Wei Liu UWA Summary: Enriching collaborative international infrastructures and exploring on demand services management. This project gained considerable interest and was highlighted at WORLD EXPO 2010 Shanghai and featured in a Australia-China Project book distributed at WORLD EXPO 2010.

32. Denmark's National Bank Project 2005 

Project Title: Risk Management in Complex and Dynamic International Business Environments

Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Niels Bjørn- Andersen, Copenhagen Business School.