Prof Mark Bishop

Staff details

Department Computing
Email m.bishop (
Phone+44 (0)20 7078 5048
Prof Mark Bishop


Professor of Cognitive Computing

Chair AISB
The AISB is the world's oldest society for the study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.
Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.

External Examiner
Undergraduate degrees in Computing, Department of Computing, University of Kent.

I have examined four theses submitted for the award of PhD/MPhil: Anderson (QMW); Pratheepan (BROOKES); Dawidowicz (HERTS) and Marques (ESSEX).

Departmental Duties
These currently include: (a) Co-organiser of the Goldsmith College Whitehead Lectures and (b) Program Leader (MSC Cognitive Computing) MSc course tutor for Cognitive Computing. As a core component of the MSC in Cognitive Computing, I teach the module Cognitive science and its critics.

Part III Undergraduate Projects
I prefer to supervise work in the fields of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, but am happy to supervise undergraduate projects in any area of Computer Science.

Part IV and MSC Projects
I am looking to supervise 'Implementational' project work involving Artificial Intelligence, (AI); Neural Networks; Swarm Intelligence and Stochastic Diffusion Processes, (SDPs) in any relevant application domain.

Higher Degree Supervision
I have successfully supervised 8 graduate students to the award of PhD. I currently supervise one research student - Mohammad Majid. I am happy to supervise 'Research Dissertations' in any area of Cognitive Science but prefer to supervise research in the broad area of AI and Cognitive Science; specifically the investigation of the Swarm Intelligence meta-heuristic and the sub-field of Stochastic Diffusion Processes (SDPs).

I also maintain the SDP paper repository at Goldsmiths.

Areas of supervision

Stochastic diffusion processes, new agent-based approach to search and optimisation, cybernetic approaches to artificial intelligence, the philosophy of artificial intelligence.

Papers presented

Plenary invitations

International seminars

  • Talk on Philosophy of Information, Lorentz Centre, Leiden University, Holland, (February 2010).
  • Seminars on the Chinese room, Microsoft Research, Seattle, USA, (2002).
  • The Restaurant Game, Alexandria University, EGYPT, (1997).
  • A Tutorial on Weightless Neural Networks, Alexandria University, EGYPT, (1997).

UK university research seminars

  • COGS Seminar, University of Sussex, UK, (February 2010).
  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, Department of Computing, Middlesex University, UK, (October 2008).
  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, Department of Computing, Hertfordshire University, UK, (October 2008).
  • Cry robot: the crocodile tears of a computing machine, Centre for Cognitive & Neural Systems, University of Warwick, UK, (December 2007).
  • An Introduction to Stochastic Diffusion Processes, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK, (January 2007).
  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, Department of Computing, Oxford Brookes University, UK, (April 2004).
  • An Introduction to Search and Optimisation using Stochastic Diffusion Processes, Department of Computing, University of Essex, UK, (February 2004).
  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, Department of Psychology, Warwick University, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK, (January 2004).
  • Society Rules: the role of Stochastic Diffusion Processes in Cognition, Computation & Culture, Dept. of Computer Science, Goldsmiths College, University of London, (May 2003).
  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, Bioinformatics, Exeter University, (February 2003).
  • Dancing with Pixies, Functional Imaging Laboratory, University College, (UCL), University of London, (November 2001).
  • Stochastic Diffusion Process: self organisation, search & intelligence, University of Cardiff, (November 2001).
  • Stochastic Diffusion Process: self organisation, search & intelligence, University of York, (March 2001).
  • Dancing with Pixies, Queen Mary College, University of London, (March 2001).
  • Stochastic Diffusion Process: self organisation, search & intelligence, University of Kent, (March 2001).
  • Dancing with Pixies, Computing Laboratory, University of Oxford, (November 2000).
  • Stochastic Diffusion Processes, Imperial College, London, (November 1999).
  • Redcar Rocks: strong artificial intelligence and panpsychism, McKay Institute of Communication & Neuroscience, University of Keele, UK, (June 1999).

Industry seminars

  • Dancing with Pixies, IBM Hursley Institute of Technology, Winchester, (July 2003).
  • Image Processing & Quality Control, Colourgen, Derby, (April 1996).
  • Computing Machinery & Intelligence, Courtaulds, Derby, (June 1994).
  • Neural Networks: an introduction, ICI Research, Manchester, (June 1991).
  • Neural Networks: a silicon brain excavated from the past, Courtaulds Research, Derby, (March 1991).

Public lectures

  • Mechanical Bodies, Mythical Minds, UK Cybernetics Society, Kings College, UK, (July 2007).
  • Mechanical bodies, mythical minds; dancing with pixies, The Whitehead Lectures on Cognition, Computing & Creativity, Goldsmiths College, (November 2004).
  • Dancing with Pixies: strong Artificial Intelligence & panpsychism, British Computer Society, (Berkshire Branch), (November 2001).
  • Dancing with Pixies, University of Reading Public Lecture Program, (October 2000).
  • Virtual Bodies & Virtual Spaces, The Body and Representation, University of Reading, (May 1997).


Cognitive Computing is an interdisciplinary subject involving biologically-inspired computational accounts of all aspects of natural and artificial cognitive systems and bridges the gap between life sciences, social sciences, engineering, physical and mathematical sciences, and humanities. Areas of particular interest include: artificial intelligence, neural networks, cognitive neuromorphic engineering and other hardware implementations, the philosophy of cognitive computation, cognitive robotics, autonomous cognitive systems, neuroscience nanotechnology, self-organizing, swarm and immune systems, complex systems and control theory, and computational cognitive neuroscience, as well as focusing on the development of latest research into practical Cognitive Computing applications.

Under the aegis of Cognitive Computing my research activity spans Computational Intelligence (theory and applications) and the Philosophy of Computational Intelligence.

In the field of Computational Intelligence I have been involved in foundational theoretical work in the development of a novel conceptual Swarm Intelligence framework, Stochastic Diffusion Processes, whilst also building up substantial experience in the application of Computational Intelligence techniques to real-world problems - most notably in the domain of colour physics, optimisation theory, trajectory planning and localisation. In these areas I have received significant research funding from the EPSRC, ESA (European Space Agency) and the EU.

In contrast, in the area of the Philosophy of Computational Intelligence - together with John Preston - I instigated an international critique of John Searle's 'Chinese Room Argument', one of the most controversial arguments in modern philosophy of mind. This project entailed collaboration with twenty eminent philosophers and scientists including the Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon; Sir Roger Penrose; John Taylor; Kevin Warwick; Terry Winograd; Stevan Harnad; Ned Block; John Haugeland; George Rey and John Searle. In 2002 the completed work was published as the book, Views into the Chinese Room, Preston, J. & Bishop, J.M., (Oxford University Press).

Linked to the above work in the philosophy of AI, I have also developed arguments against the possibility of machine/computational consciousness (for a very brief outline see Bishop, J.M., 2004, Can computers feel?). These have attracted some media attention, not least because they attempt to undermine sensationalist claims that, 'robots will take over the world'. Over the last few years I have been invited to debate this position several times: on TV as a panel guest on the BBC program 'Knowledge Talks' and twice on Radio Four, 'The Today Program' (live) and as one of the keynote speakers on a special New Year's Eve documentary on AI which also included contributions from Susan Blakemore, Jonathan Miller, Marvin Minsky, Kevin Warwick and Arthur C. Clarke.

At the recent Emerald Publishing Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2006, a paper I co-authored with Dr. Slawek Nasuto, second order cybernetics and enactive perception, won the Norbert Wiener Award and was recognised as Outstanding Paper of 2006 by the journal Kybernetes.

Current research

Now that their mathematical properties are well understood, my current research in computing is centred around examining new application areas for Stochastic Diffusion Processes, (SDPs) and working to embed SDPs within a wider research context, (e.g. evolutionary algorithms; swarm intelligence; interaction algorithms; multi-agent systems etc).

In Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence I continue to argue against computationalism whilst embracing Second Order Cybernetics and Evolutionary Robotics as a more coherent framework within which to understand and build cognitive systems.

In the broad area of cognitive Science I remain interested in exploring second order cybernetics and enactive perception in the context of Francisco Varela's ideas on embodiment, O'Regan & Noe's sensorimotor theories of perception and dynamic theories of cognition.

I am also interested in computations on colour and the philosophy of colour.

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