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Prof. Kraus’ fundamental and broad research has distinguished her as a leading, world class researcher and one of the most influential individuals, and women scientists in computer science in Israel. Her groundbreaking research in multiple areas of Artificial Intelligence has created whole new research fields, and laid the foundations to countless other research.

In my humble opinion, Prof. Kraus is clearly the most influential Artificial Intelligence researcher in Israel, and can take credit for much of Israel’s distinguished world standing in this area.

Kraus’ research has made highly influential contributions to numerous subfields, most notably to multiagent systems and non-monotonic reasoning. One of her important contributions is to strategic negotiation. Her pioneering work in this area is one of the first to integrate Game Theory with Artificial Intelligence.

Furthermore, she started new research on automated agents that negotiate with people, and established that these agents must be evaluated via experiments with humans. In particular, she has developed Diplomat, the first automated agent that negotiated proficiently with people. This was followed with other agents that bargain well with people by integrating qualitative decision-making approach with machine learning tools, to face the challenge of people being bounded rational.

Based on Kraus’ work, others have begun to develop automated agents that negotiate with people. Consequently, Kraus’s seminal work has become the gold standard for research in negotiation, both among automated agents and between agents and humans. This work has provoked the curiosity of other communities and was published in journals of political science, psychology and economics.

Currently, Kraus focuses on a multidisciplinary project Dynamic Models of the Effect of Culture on Collaboration and Negotiation. For this project, she built a bargainer agent that collects data on culture differences in negotiations. It has negotiated with almost 100 people in Lebanon and a similar number in Harvard U., and all believed that they played with a person, not recognizing that this was an agent. Two additional exciting projects are for building systems that negotiate and argue proficiently with people.

Kraus is in the process of building a system for the Israeli police for training law enforcement officials to interview witnesses and suspects. The goal is to develop automated agents that can play the roles of the interviewee (the suspect) and also an agent that will be able to play the role of the interviewer (the law enforcement official). The second project is in cooperation with the Sheba hospital for building virtual coaching agent.

Kraus’s work consistently reflects an extraordinary combination of rigorous problem formulation and sound mathematics. She was the first to develop computational models of coalition formation and has shown that the problem of task allocation among autonomous agents can be modeled in a coalition formation, discussing a variety of settings and presented both theoretical complexity results and heuristics approaches to overcome the complexity challenges. This resulted in much subsequent work by others (e.g., Vig and Adams, 2005 carried extensive experiments studying the deployment of our algorithm for multi-robots settings).

Recently, Kraus has opened a new direction to formally handle the high complexity of coalition problems by studying them as a function of their distinct input elements using the theory of parameterized complexity. This has already raised a lot of interest from young researchers.

Another influential contribution of Kraus is in introducing a dimension of individualism into the multi-agent field by developing protocols and strategies for cooperation among self-interested agents. This view differed radically from the fully cooperative agents approach, commonly held then by the multi -agent community (then called Distributed Artificial Intelligent). Individualism is necessary for reliably constraining the behaviour in open environments, such as electronic marketplaces.

Together with Grosz of Harvard, Kraus developed a reference theory for collaborative planning (a TeamWork model) called SharedPlans, which provides specification for the design of collaboration-capable agents and a framework for identifying and investigating fundamental questions about collaboration. It specifies the minimal conditions for a group of agents to have a joint goal, the group and individual decision making procedures that are required, the way the agents' mental states and plans can evolve over time and other various important relationships among the agents, e.g., teammates, subcontractors, etc. Given the extensiveness of SharedPlans and its rigorous specifications, it has been the basis for many other works and was widely adopted in other fields (e.g. robotics or human-machine interaction). For example, Oliviero Stock, one of the leaders of AI in Europe, used SharedPlans as a basis for multimodal dialogues.

Kraus is also highly recognized for her contribution to the area of Non-Monotonic Reasoning. She is the first author of one of the most influential papers in the area (KLM). This paper [ S. Kraus, D. Lehmann and M. Magidor. Nonmonotonic Reasoning, Preferential Models and Cumulative Logics, Artificial Intelligence, 44:167--207, 1990.], with more than 1120 citations, represents one of the four main approaches in non-monotonic reasoning.

Within the mainstream logic community, “KLM” semantics have had probably the greatest impact. Many researchers have built on this work and developed many tools around it (e.g. the “KLMLean” theorem prover). For example, Joe Halpern, the well known researcher on knowledge and uncertainty, in his 1996 JACM paper with Friedman introduced a new approach to modeling uncertainty based on plausibility measures basing his model on the KLM axioms. Furthermore, KLM became a standard of reference for studying which properties are satisfied by other reasoning systems.

Kraus’s elegant solutions have enriched the research community, but they have also had practical fruits as well. They have led to the design and construction of real systems, moving concepts out of academia and into the real world. Recently, Kraus together with Tambe and Ordonez from USC, developed an innovative approach of randomized policies for security applications when resources are limited. The innovative algorithm, which applies game theory and optimization methods, improves the state of the art in security of robotics and multi-agent systems, and is used in practice by the Los Angeles international airport. Similarly, her seminal work in the area of formal models of collaboration is used in industrial cutting edge simulation technology and team supported tools.

Over the years, Kraus has published 77 journal papers, 21 of them in Artificial Intelligence Journal, which is one of the longest established and most prestigious journals in AI. In fact, she holds the world record in number of articles in AI Journal.

She is the author of a monograph on negotiations and co-authored an additional three books (see attached CV). She has also written 35 book chapters, 106 highly refereed conference papers, and 46 Refereed Workshops, Posters and Short papers. Kraus hindex is 39 and her g-index 87. She is ranked 24 world-wide on the Academic Search authors list in Artificial Intelligence. Over the past 20 years she has received numerous grants from various funding agencies and companies, including the NSF, EC, ISF, MOS, Ministry of Trade, United States Institute of Peace, GIF, MAFAT, BSF, DARPA, and GM. She has also served as associate editor of Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence and on the editorial and advisory boards of several other prestigious journals.

Kraus is also very active in organizing international conferences and workshops in the field of AI and a strong supporter of local conferences as a means for getting young Israeli researchers closer to the key people in the AI community, Kraus has put many efforts in inspiring young researchers. She has advised 6 postdocs, 16 PhD students and 43 master students. Currently she is supervising 7 PhD students and 4 MSc students. Seven of her PhD students are faculty members in universities and colleges in Israel and seven are research scientists in high tech companies and research centers in Israel and the USA.

Kraus is also known for her leadership in efforts to increase the participation of women in science.

Under her numerous international collaborations, she counts researchers from all around the world and from different disciplines, including Prof. Selten from Bonn, Prof. Grosz from Harvard, Prof. Shoham from Stanford, Prof. Korf from UCLA, Prof. Michele Gelfand from the Dept. of Psychology in UMD, the mathematician, Prof. Magidor, former president of HU, Dr. Katia Sycara from CMU, Prof. Ito from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Prof Jennings from Southampton University and Prof. Jon Wilkenfeld from the department of Government and Politics at UMD.

Kraus’s highly cited paper on SharedPlans (848 citations) was recognized by the European Coordinating Committee for AI (ECCAI) as one of the most influential developments in AI over the last decade, and led to several prizes and honors, including the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents & Multi-Agent Systems' prestigious "Influential Paper Prize" in 2007. In 1995, she received the IJCAI “Computers and Thought Award” for outstanding young scientists in AI; and in 2007 the ACM/SIGART Agents award, the most important award in Multi-agents systems research. In recognition of the non-monotonic reasoning work, she received in 2009, together with Tambe, Ordonez and their USC students, a special commendation from the city of Los Angeles. She was honored as fellow of AAAI and ECCAI. Kraus has received with Grosz the 2007 “IFAAMAS Influential Paper Award”, and has received six “best paper” awards.

One beautiful aspects of Kraus’s research is that it provides as much insight into human processes as the artificial. For example, Kraus helped develop Colored Trails, a publicly available program that provides a platform for researchers to conduct decision-making studies. While such work involves core problems in computer science, she draws on fields as diverse as economics, philosophy and psychology to study frequent, but complex real life situations.

On the personal level, I would also like to mention that Prof. Kraus is a strong believer in people. She is very active in promoting students with learning disabilities and students from low income families and minorities. She herself has adopted, seven years ago, two young kids (with the strong support of her grown up kids).

In summary, through her influential research and selfless service to the field, Sarit Kraus has been an inspiration—and her work has been influential in the research trajectories of many AI researchers. She richly deserves this honor.



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