Luc Steels

Luc Steels

Professor Emeritus


Luc Steels studied linguistics at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). His main research field is Artificial Intelligence covering a wide range of intelligent abilities, including vision, robotic behavior, conceptual representations and language. In 1983 he became a professor of computer science at the University of Brussels (VUB). He has been co-founder and chairman (from 1990 until 1995) of the VUB Computer Science Department (Faculty of Sciences).

He founded the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris in 1996 and became its first director. Currently he is ICREA research professor at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology(CSIC,UPF). Steels has participated in dozens of large-scale European projects and more than 30 PhD theses have been granted under his direction. He has produced over 200 articles and edited 15 books directly related to his research. During the past decade he has focused on theories for the origins and evolution of language using computer simulations and robotic experiments to discover and test them.

Role in scientific organizations

  • Member New York Academy of Sciences
  • Founding Board Member of ECCAI, the European organisation for Artificial Intelligence. Aided in setting up ECCAI headquarters in Belgium.
  • Member of Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten
  • Founder and president (from 1984 until 1994) of BAAI, the Belgian AI organisation. BAAI has now merged with the Dutch AI organisation to become the BNVKI.
  • Member FWO commmission for computer science.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board GMD, the German National Research Institute in Computer Science, from 1996 until 2000 when GMD became part of Fraunhofer.
  • Member steering committee Society for AI and Simulation of Behavior (until 1990).
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. (from 1988 until 1993).
  • Member Scientific Advisory Board Electrum (National Swedish Institute for Computer Science) (in 1994)

Role in journals

  • Co-founder and co-editor (with Bob Wielinga) of AI Communications (now the main European AI Journal) until early 90's:
  • Co-founder (with Sherman Wilcox) and co-editor Journal Evolution of Communication (Walter Benjamins)
  • Associate editor of Artificial Life Journal (MIT Press)
  • Associate editor of Adaptive Behavior Journal (Sage Publications, London)
  • Associate editor of Journal of Universal Computer Science (Springer)
  • Associate editor of Journal of Complex Systems (Hermes)
  • Associate editor of Journal of Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines (Kluwer)
  • Regular reviewer for Nature, Cognitive Science, Artificial Life, Artificial Intelligence, Cognition, Robotics and Autonomous Systems.


Research projects

Opinion Dynamics and Cultural Conflict in European Spaces (ODYCCEUS)

ESSENCE – Evolution of Shared SEmaNtics in Computational Environment

Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robots (ALEAR)

Dynamic Speaker Alignment for Interactive Dialog Systems

Digging for the Roots of Understanding (DRUST)

Language Games voor het Taalonderwijs


The Cultural Self-organisation of Cognitive Grammar

Co-Evolution of Syntax and Semantics (CESS)

Origins of Language and Meaning