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Josiah Hanna

josiah.hanna [at] ed.ac.uk
School of Informatics
The University of Edinburgh

I am a research associate in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh working with Stefano Albrecht. I recently completed my PhD in the Learning Agents Research Group in the Computer Science Department at the University of Texas at Austin where I worked with Peter Stone. Starting Fall 2021, I will be an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

I study a branch of machine learning called reinforcement learning (RL). Reinforcement learning allows autonomous agents to learn to complete sequential decision making tasks given only a reward signal and interaction with their environment. The goal of my research is to develop and apply reinforcement learning algorithms that are effective with a limited amount of time interacting with a task. My long-term research goal is to develop AI systems that can quickly master a new task with a small number of attempts at the task.

I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in computer science and mathematics. As an undergraduate I worked with Judy Goldsmith on algorithms for multi-objective and factored Markov Decision Processes. I also spent a summer working with Patrice Perny and Paul Weng at LIP6 in Paris, France working on approximating the set of Pareto optimal solutions for multi-objective MDPs. During my PhD, I interned at Google where I worked with Craig Boutillier and Ofer Meshi.

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