Don Perlis is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and a member of the university's Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS).
His research is mostly in artificial intelligence, including commonsense reasoning; flexible, domain-general, self-adjusting autonomous systems; and philosophical issues surrounding language, the mind and consciousness. The primary current thrust aims to test an ambitious "commonsense-core hypothesis"— that there is a modest number of general-purpose anomaly-handling strategies that humans use (and that machines can be programmed to use) which are sufficient to allow us to muddle through a multitude of daily situations for which we are not highly trained. This should then allow the development of robust and flexible autonomous systems that learn from their mistakes, rather than totally break down.
Perlis has given keynote lectures nationally and internationally, and has published more than 150 articles, some of which are among the most-cited in their respective journals.
He has doctorate degrees in mathematics from New York University and in computer science from the University of Rochester.