<center>Academic World of Stan Franklin</center>
Short Bio (approved by Stan Franklin for a Science Museum Exhibit in Memphis)
Stan Franklin was an American cognitive scientist, computer scientist, and mathematician. He was the principal developer of IDA (Intelligent Distribution Agent) and its successor LIDA (Learning Intelligent Decision Agent). LIDA is regarded as one of the most influential and well-developed biologically inspired cognitive architectures to date.
A native Memphian, Dr. Franklin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis in 1959, and his PhD from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1963. He served on the faculties of the University of Florida, the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Memphis.
While at the University of Memphis, Stan Franklin founded the Cognitive Computing Research Group (CCRG) and co-founded the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS). He also held the honorary title of W. Harry Feinstone Interdisciplinary Research Professor.
Over the course of his long career, Stan Franklin was a prolific researcher. He published hundreds of research articles and the book Artificial Minds. At the time of his passing, he was still actively conducting research and mentoring future generations of cognitive scientists.
Art Graesser’s Summary of his Curriculum Vitae
Stan Franklin received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Memphis State University in 1959 and his doctoral degree in mathematics from University of California Los Angeles in 1963. For the next 9 years he went through adventures as a professor throughout the world, including Tulane University, University of Washington, UCLA, University of Florida, Carnegie Mellon University (7 years), Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and a Center in Mathematics in Amsterdam. He returned to University of Memphis in 1972 to serve as chair of Mathematical Sciences (1972-1984). His research interests started to shift from topology to intelligent systems. He co-founded and co-directed the Institute for Intelligent Systems in 1987. The University of Memphis recognized his work by awarding him the W. Harry Feinstone Interdisciplinary Research Professorship. This was a crowning achievement for his passion for interdisciplinary research in cognitive science and intelligent systems.
During his years as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and serving as Chair at the University of Memphis, Stan had a serious interest in topology. He founded a journal called Topology and Its Applications. However, he cultivated new interests in intelligent systems and cognitive science in the mid-1980’s. He was interested in intelligent agents, cognitive and biological systems, and new models being developed in artificial intelligence. His new interests inspired the creation of the Institute for Intelligent Systems and his writing the book Artificial Minds that was published by MIT Press in 1995. He had a deep interest in how computers might simulate consciousness in addition to the more automated components of cognition. According to Google Scholar he has an i10-index of 125, which means that 125 of his published articles have been cited by 10 or more people. Most of his articles have included his dozens of masters and doctoral students.
<center>Personal Stories and Comments</center>
Art Graesser, Emeritus Professor, Psychology Department and Institute for Intelligent Systems
I met Stan Franklin in 1985 when I was interviewing for a job at University of Memphis in the Department of Psychology. I was passionate about interdisciplinary research in cognitive science that included artificial intelligence (AI), so the organizers were wise enough to include Stan from mathematical sciences on my agenda. Stan had recently had an article about teaching computer science and other topics with computers.
My 60-minute meeting with Stan was electric. We were in a flow experience conversing back and forth about the human mind, AI, and recent computational models. Back and forth with ideas flowing. Like all flow experiences, time and fatigue disappear. I went on with the psychology department interview very energized. The style of interaction between Stan and me has continued for nearly four decades. Regarding the interview, I decided to take the position at University of Memphis and turn down IBM with a high salary. Ideas matter. Stan and I always talked about ideas. Ideas are more important than money. That being said, some ideas bring money. 😊 But Stan and I were not interested in the monetary dimension of the world. We were interested in ideas.
Stan and I spent a few years between 1985 and 1995 starting a grass roots effort generating ideas in a community of about 40 researchers and onlookers. About a dozen of us had lunch every Wednesday at a Chinese roundtable near campus (A-TAN). We talked about dozens of controversial issues, but the emphasis was typically on intelligent systems.
This grass roots movement evolved to the creation of the Institute for Intelligent Systems. I remember when Stan Franklin, Terry Horgan (Philosophy), and I had a jog through Overton Park about creating an interdisciplinary center that focuses on intelligent systems in humans, animals, computers, and abstract information systems. That is what created the interdisciplinary Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS). In 1988 we were recognized as an institute by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the IIS won an award in 2016. Stan was the heart of the creation of the IIS.
I recall the days in our IIS Cognitive Science seminar with Stan. This seminar has met each Wednesday for nearly 40 years. I recall that Stan would ask questions when he did not understand the ideas of a presenter. He was insistent on understanding what a speaker said! Some were so happy that he did that because they were equally confused. Others were irritated that Stan interrupted but they were typically those who had no clue what was going on. Discussion of ideas rule the day, not terminal politeness.
In 1995 Stan published Artificial Minds, an MIT Press book that was published in multiple languages. It contrasted the rigid crusty old AI with the new AI models with neural networks, fuzzy control architectures, genetic algorithms, society of agents, and other systems that resembled human, animal, and biological mechanisms. This book was 20 years ahead of its time.
Stan received a big grant from the Navy to build on his ideas around 2000. He developed a model that assigned sailors to jobs based on AI algorithms. Around this time he developed a LIDA, a very ambitious model of human cognition that had many moving parts. His LIDA model is respected by award winning mathematical psychologists who develop computer models of cognition (including John Anderson) and pillars of the AI community (including John Laird). Stan also developed a computer system that modeled human consciousness that simulated a theory of Bernie Baars.
Stan and I published about a dozen articles together but my favorite was:
Franklin, S., & Graesser, A. C. (1996). Is it an agent or just a program? A taxonomy for autonomous agents. Proceedings of the Agent Theories, Architectures, and Languages Workshop. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.
There have been 4600 citations on this workshop article according to Google Scholar. The impact factor from this single article is perhaps higher than the citation-based impact factor of 90% of the computer scientists and mathematicians in the United States throughout their careers. However, Stan was never a bean counter of that nature. He wanted to explore mechanisms of intelligent systems.
I recall a moment in 2018 when Stan was so excited that he published four articles that year with his students. Here it is a researcher nearing 90 who is still publishing. And with his students. That is a role model and mentor to follow!
Sean Kugele, Visiting Professor, Department of Computer Science, Rhodes College
I met Stan in the spring of 2004. I had just graduated from Christian Brothers University the previous December, and I was still trying to answer the question, “What do I do next?” I decided to enroll in a few courses at the University of Memphis, including Stan’s Artificial Intelligence course. I absolutely loved it. This was also the first time that I read Stan’s book Artificial Minds.
Years later—in 2011—I decided to join the PhD program at the University of Memphis in the department of computer science. I believe that this was in no small part because of my earlier encounters with Stan. In my first semester, I took another of Stan’s courses: “Control Structures for Autonomous Agents.” And this time I was hooked. I approached Stan at the end of the semester, and I asked him if I could join his Cognitive Computing Research Group. I have been working with him ever since.
Of all my many interactions with Stan, one stands out above the rest (though I didn’t fully appreciate its significance to me at the time). In the spring of 2017, my fiancé Tammy was exhibiting several photographs in her first gallery show at the Germantown Performing Arts Center. This was a very big deal for both of us, so I invited Stan and his wife Jeannie to share in this occasion. (Among Stan’s many talents, he was also an enthusiastic and capable amateur photographer.)
After the gallery show, Stan invited all of us to dinner at New Asia restaurant, which I believe was one of his favorites. The food was wonderful, and Stan ordered hot tea for us to share. The tea was served in little teacups without handles. Eager to try the tea, I reached for my teacup immediately after the tea had been poured, and I proceeded to burn my fingers on the damn thing. With as much grace as I could muster, I put the teacup back on the table—without taking a sip. Stan must have noticed this. A minute or so later I heard him say, “observe….” I turned to Stan, his face was calm and flat (“Zen master Stan”), and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. So, I looked around to the others at the table and then back at Stan, and I said, “what?” Once again, he said, “observe….” And eventually I did. He was holding his teacup, fingers near its rim, for me to see. Thus educated on how to properly pick up my teacup, I took a sip.
Fast-forward to 2021: Stan’s 90th birthday party. We celebrated with Stan at the Lichterman Nature Center. Despite the pandemic, the place was packed with Stan’s many children, and their children, and other family members, friends, colleagues, current and former students, and a magician. It was a great shindig, with a joyous and loving energy in the air. Towards the end of the night, there was an open-mic moment. One by one, his family, colleagues, students and friends shared their stories, sometimes teasing (yup, that’s directed at you Bruce), but always loving. In that moment, as I scrambled to think of something to say, to honor this man that has been such an important part of my life, I remembered that earlier memory of “Stan versus the Scorching Hot Teacup.” And in remembering, I heard Stan saying in my mind, “observe….” And I did. In that moment, I observed a man that had lived an amazing life, that had touched the lives of so many people, and had been a part of so many stories along the way. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to share this at the time, much to my regret.)
I know that I will never live up to Stan’s example, or his many accomplishments, or have so many interesting stories. But he will always be a part of my story, and I am so grateful to have known him.
Steve Strain, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Memphis
I am not a plane Figure, but a Solid. You call me a Circle; but in
reality I am not a Circle, but an infinite number of Circles, of size
varying from a Point to a Circle of thirteen inches in diameter, one
placed on the top of the other. When I cut through your plane as I am
now doing, I make in your plane a section which you, very rightly, call
a Circle. For even a Sphere--which is my proper name in my own
country--if he manifest himself at all to an inhabitant of
Flatland--must needs manifest himself as a Circle.
Edwin Abbot (1884), Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.
A few days after Stan died, a group of his graduate students and former graduate students requested the key to his office in the Fedex Institute of Technology (FIT) building. We wanted to enter for one last time that place where we had met with Stan so many times over the years. Everything was as it had been--books, awards, photographs on the wall. We spent about 20 minutes taking pictures and reminiscing.
One photograph stands out in my memory. It was mounted on the wall above the right side of his desk, just above his PhD diploma (in mathematics, from UCLA, dated 1959). It shows him seated in the Fedex Institute's auditorium, The Zone, wearing a suit (a rare sight). He is speaking, and a participant in front of him is turned to listen. It is not the image that impresses me now, but the handwritten inscription. On a light colored band at the bottom of the image, one reads, "STAN--To the kindest genius I've ever met! Jim Phillips."
I first met Stan when I took his Control of Autonomous Agents course in 2008. When he learned that I was a physician, he invited me to lunch to discuss a 2004 paper he had published with Dan Jones (who is also a physician) about a proposal for a medical software agent. As he would often do later on, Stan drove us from campus to the restaurant, and along the way I learned several interesting things. We had both graduated from Christian Brothers High School. We both had childhood memories in the Hein Park neighborhood (which we passed along the way). We had both been amateur magicians in our youth, during which we studied Tarbell's Course in Magic. We both had backgrounds in Taijiquan. And we both had similar intuitions about cognition and how best to understand it.
For me it was a great personal kindness that Stan's interest in me as a human being was not limited to our principal business of cognitive modeling. At the time I was undergoing an extremely difficult personal phase that posed great challenges in my ability to believe in myself. While Stan remained ever appropriate in his role as research advisor and academic mentor, no subject was off the table when it came to the many challenges I encountered within my personal circumstances and within myself. I remember a time when my depression was so acute that I called him to cancel our regular weekly meeting, which at that time was in his office in the FIT building. It was in early 2017, and among several other stressors too complex to mention here, I was quite ashamed of my lack of progress towards the completion of my dissertation, the only requirement remaining for my doctoral degree.
I felt guilty for canceling on such short notice, but Stan reassured me it was no problem. And whereas it was no problem if I wanted to cancel completely, he said, since he had nothing scheduled after our meeting, it would also be no problem for him to stop by my house and for us to have our meeting there, if I desired. I accepted.
After I tidied my home office a bit to make room for Stan and me to sit comfortably there, Stan arrived. All I really had to share that day was my shame, and I was even ashamed of that too. Stan listened patiently, thoughtfully, attentively. When I finished, he began to share with me a list of about a dozen qualities that he judged necessary for a student to be successful in their pursuit of a doctoral degree. As he named each quality, he shared with me his assessment of my abilities with respect to that quality, relative to his previous doctoral students. In some of these qualities he ranked me very highly, and in all of them he rated me as above average. He recited all this in a calm and factual tone, in contrast with the drama of my ego deflated state. The effect of his recitation was that of an academic presentation of the evidence that I had the necessary qualities to succeed in completing the degree. The implicit message was that he believed in me.
There were many group gatherings at our weekly CCRG meetings, which began to slow after his retirement in 2013, the last being in early 2019. In addition, there were many gatherings for graduating students, former students visiting town, and other special occasions, such as Stan's 90th birthday party in 2021. Stan and I had an individual meeting weekly from early 2009 until September 2022, at which point he became too ill to continue. Of course, we always talked about LIDA in some context, but no topic was off limits. Stan's ability to listen was one of the many ways in which he served as a role model for me. In addition to listening, he shared generously from his own experience. A favorite topic was his family, especially his children.
The morning after Stan's passing, my mind began replaying the greeting that he always gave me, "Hello, Steve!" It had a quiet but joyful cadence to it. As I realized I would never hear it again, I began to cry. Already, there was an email thread of friends, colleagues, and former students sharing our sadness and our memories with one another. I shared my feelings around the remembered greeting. Several immediately responded, remembering how he had greeted them in the very same way. This movement continued all week, as many journeyed to Memphis for the weekend services. I watched with a sense of awe as a new community emerged from all of the circles of Stan's life reaching inward to connect across the void left by his departure.
This was my first time attending a Jewish funeral. I understand that an open mike is not a common practice, but it had a wonderful effect on me. Still processing my own grief, I was not prepared to speak to such a large group. But as I listened, I heard and felt my own time with Stan relived through different eyes. What others shared at once enhanced my connection to the sense of loss together with my awareness of the gratitude that I feel for having known Stan. My experiences form just one circle on a sphere. Each person who shared had met Stan on a different circle. As they shared, I began to glimpse the outline of a sphere, the shape of what we have lost by losing Stan. It is the space that even now, we are filling as we connect with one another, and as we create a just memory of his life and what it has meant to us.
Something in me feels certain that he would be pleased.
<center>(Other Friends, Family, and Colleagues)</center>
Welcoming. That’s what comes to mind when I think of Stan’s personality. Losing Stan means losing out on the warm wholesome feeling you get, when you see someone smile genuinely and welcome you into their office, their home, and their life. Welcoming people in your life is probably not that hard. Keeping them, so many of them, together, without getting bogged down takes a personality, a mindset and a lot of mental energy and love. He created, literally and figuratively, a family, in kin and out, that was huge and filled with love. Friends and colleagues travelling from around the country for his funeral and numerous memorials from around the world are a testament to the love he imbued in his clique. There is also no doubt about the extreme amount of mental energy that Stan had. He was meeting his fellow researchers and students for work till the day he got severely ill with his condition (to some degree even after stabilizing from it). I remember waiting for him in the online meeting room and knowing later that he did not show up because he was hospitalized that very evening. That is the testament to his mental energy.
I only came to fully appreciate later that his palpable brainpower and motivation was fed by his curiosity, and possibly by meditation. He once told me he has had an out-of-body experience while meditating. I guess he reached pinnacles in his personal, professional, and even spiritual life. I heard from one of the family that he would climb up a tree and sit on it, an action clearly intended for fun and curiosity of experience, knowing Stan. His inquisitiveness is what led him to explore and appreciate other cultures, I believe. I remember multiple occasions when our research meetings turned into culture exploration sessions, especially through his stories about India. It always surprised me how well travelled he was in India. Being an Indian myself, he could tell me things about India that I had not realized. I know that I haven’t travelled India even till date as much as he had in the small time that he was there. I remember one time when we were discussing India, he told me about his favorite restaurant in India. It was Annapurna in Pune, Maharashtra. I went there and enjoyed the food quite a lot. I bet you could always safely pick his recommendation for food. He welcomed all cultures and celebrated them for what they were, the good and the bad. That is how I want to remember Stan, a man of reason and love, a man with curiosity and motivation, a man of family and friends. And that is how I aspire to be. Stan is, therefore, an inspiration.
P.S. sorry for all the wrong use of commas Stan.
I did not take your class but heard from other students about you. I met you one late afternoon in a meeting with Steve Strain at Herff College of Engineering conference room, the year was probably 2009. The people were there amazed to see the depth of your knowledge. I got an introduction to your LIDA model on that day. I was listening to you, looking at you, although did not understand much at that time. Later, I realized, what a great loss to the scientific community to lose you.
Stan was Associate Editor in the Mathematics of Control, Signals, and Systems. He asked me to referee a very famous paper in 1988.
G. Cybenko, Approximation by superpositions of sigmoidal function, Math. of Control Signals and System, 2 (1989), 303-314.
That was the beginning of NN (Neural Network) Approximation theory, a seminal paper, a qualitative general approach based on Kolmogorov’s superposition principle. So I am thankful to Stan for learning about this NN topic.
Later in 1992, I found the following article from where I was inspired to start my quantitative NN Approximation theory. The 1992 article is qualitative work but a great paper, very specific precise work.
P. Cardaliaguet, G. Euvrard, Approximation of a function and its derivative with a neural network. Neural Netw. 5, 207–220 (1992).
I started my quantitative NN research since 1997, my first paper, and I continue till now. So NN
approximation theory became one of my research disciplines. Stan Franklin had to do a lot with it and I will always remember him as a nice pleasant colleague.
He was also a founder of this department (mathematical sciences) as a research department in the 1960’s. So always he will be in our hearts and his passing is a great loss. My condolences to his family.
Stan Franklin was a great man, with an extraordinary scholarly mind. That was probably not sufficiently appreciated by those of us who knew him well, and I hope we will spend some time thinking and talking about that, after his sudden passing.
Stan and I were close friends and research partners, and I count Stan and his students and colleagues as natural members of the "GW consciousness family." Although Stan contributed to topological theory, computational theory, to evolutionary neurobiology, and to building up the math and CS departments at the University of Memphis, he set few limits to his work and interests, which I think is the mark of a great scholar.
He was also an extraordinarily kind man, a man for all seasons.
Decades ago Stan was also part of the humanistic psychology movement, working with Gestalt encounter groups.
My warmest regards go out to Stan's family, friends, and colleagues at the University of Memphis. and elsewhere.
Stan's Erdős number was 1 [See Note on Stan’s Erdős number below], because he welcomed Erdős himself to the University of Memphis, in the process of building up the Department to major academic status. Stan himself contributed immensely to the network density of his own scholarly neighborhood, really extending outward
to the entire world.
Stan's sudden absence is a sadness, but what a great life he lived, and what an example he gave!
May his memory be for a blessing. With warmest wishes to all.
I first met Stan in 2001 at a consciousness conference on Long Island. As soon as I arrived he rushed up to me, said he wanted to talk about my favorite topic - memes and evolution - and took me off for a long and memorable walk in which I came to appreciate the depth of his knowledge and his bright, lively, and original mind. We had many talks during those few days there. Then in 2015, I gladly accepted an invitation to speak to his students and spent a happy few days staying in his home, meeting many of the family over dinner and, above all, continuing those wonderful, challenging, and inspiring conversations about evolution, consciousness, and the meaning of life. His kindness and brilliance will be much missed even by someone who knew him only briefly.
I have some lovely old photos of us if you were interested. Thinking of you and all the family.
Jim Blythe and Sheila Martin
Jim knew Stan slightly from serving on college committees with him after we came to Memphis in 1992. About 18 years ago we were lucky enough to join his already traditional lunch every Sunday at Mayori Indian restaurant with his daughter Michelle, son-in-law Kaveh, friend Allison, and occasionally his wonderful wife Jeannie. We even had our own reserved table, the only round one in the place. We had many engrossing and sometimes contentious conversations about science, math (Jim studied math and science before becoming a historian), politics, religion, anthropology, AI, philosophy, movies, art, literature, and much more.
Sheila was especially fascinated by the discussions on the physics of time and on those about the nature of consciousness (one of Stan’s fields of expertise)—useful stuff for the time-travel novel she was writing.
This exchange of ideas worked so well because of Stan’s guidance and insistence that there be only one conversation at the table at a time.
Unfortunately, because of health concerns, we never restarted the lunches after lockdown—and if we ever do, it won’t be the same without Stan. We will miss him.
In 1996, I was a senior majoring in computer science at Rhodes College. One of my goals was to study biologically motivated computing. As such, I applied to several Ph.D. programs in artificial intelligence. I received a phone call from Stan, and I drove to The University of Memphis to meet with him in his office. As I learned about the Institute for Intelligent Systems, I knew that was it; I was going to attend Memphis for grad school.
Stan was my major professor for both my master’s and Ph.D. degrees. He welcomed me into his new “Conscious” Software Research Group. We spent an incredible amount of time collaborating on intelligent agents including “AutoTutor”, “VMattie”, and “CMattie”. We worked together on a Navy grant to create intelligent agents with the goal of helping facilitate a smooth process for sailors and their families as they rotated to different Naval positions.
Stan always supported his students. Over the years, I have spoken about this using the example of the agreement Stan and I made when it was time to write my dissertation. I asked him, if I committed to writing a chapter a week, that he would read and turn around his comments on that chapter at the end of the next week. Even with the incredible demands on his schedule, he kept to our plan which significantly facilitated our collaboration and my completion.
After I graduated, Stan and I saw each other a few times over the years when I was in Memphis. Each visit was very meaningful. My experiences as his student continue to impact my journey today.
Whitney Cade, Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research
I took the first AI class from Stan and really loved his teaching style – no tests, no quizzes, just conversation and deep knowledge. I was actually just telling a story about when I was in his class. He had these cards with our names on it, and would work through the stack over the class period and call on us with questions. I remember he called on someone in the back with a question (something like “What kind of node is that?”), and the student tentatively answered “Is it a solution node?” and he responded “Wrong!” Then he pulled my card, to my horror, and posed the same question, and I said “Is it the solution node?” It remains my proudest right answer. He was so detail-oriented – in what we were learning, there was only one solution and he wanted to make sure we knew that. He was always just so focused on getting the foundations right. And what other professor would have you pseudo-code out loud, on the spot? I was really saddened to hear of his passing.
Stan Franklin was a wonderful scientist, a wonderful scholar, and a wonderful person. When I was a graduate student in the early 1990s, we interacted a lot about common interests in the relationship between neural network and classical architectures. Stan had written important work on neural networks implementing Turing machines, and his work was . influential for me in thinking about related ideas about structured representation in neural networks. We started a productive email correspondence about these ideas.
In 1991, Stan invited me to give a talk in his department at Memphis State University (as it was called then). It was my first ever departmental talk. I don't think he had realized that I was a Ph.D. student in philosophy, but he was nice about it. He was a marvelous host, full of constant ideas and conversation. He introduced me to many Memphis faculty (including Terry Horgan, who became another great friend and later my colleague at Arizona) and many Memphis traditions.
Stan's generosity and warmth were unparalleled. He became a sort of mentor and father figure to me as to so many others. Stan was also starting to think about consciousness, as I was, and we started an ongoing conversation about AI and consciousness that continued for decades. I ended up making return visits to Memphis in 1994 and 1997, and helping Stan to organize the big ASSC consciousness conference there in 2003.
Stan's 1995 book Artificial Minds is a classic work on the intersection between AI, philosophy, and cognitive science, with a lot of interesting ideas about consciousness along the way. Stan was never afraid of big issues and big ideas. He was drawn to them, always looking for a way to explore them with a degree of mathematical and computational rigor. I'd see him regularly at conferences on consciousness and workshops on machine consciousness, doing everything he could to rigorously explore the locus between AI and consciousness.
Perhaps Stan's most important work from my own perspective was his trailblazing research on implementing global workspace theories of consciousness in a computational model, LIDA. When it was done, of course everyone asked, is LIDA conscious? Like almost everyone, Stan said no (one presentation used scare quotes: "Conscious" Software Agents), but it was an edifying question to think about. Stan's work on LIDA pioneered a trail that continues to this day. Exactly the same questions are now arising with multimodal large language models that implement a global workspace architecture, and these architectures are recognizably a descendant of Stan's.
Stan was a pioneering figure in AI and the science of consciousness. When the history of artificial consciousness is written, Stan will have a central role. He was also a great friend to me and to so many others. We'll all miss him.
Stan Franklin has been one of the founding fathers of machine consciousness. His system IDA, then LIDA, was, since early 2000, the only solid working system based on a theory of consciousness. In 2007 I organized the AAAI Fall Symposium on AI and Consciousness in Arlington, and I remember his group (he was unable to come) brilliantly presented the paper on LIDA, firing lively discussions. Since that, we have exchanged many emails, and he always encouraged me when I founded the International Journal on Machine Consciousness and then the Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness. Stan was on the editorial board of both journals, and I remember his contributions were always sharp and constructive. His contribution to the field of machine consciousness is invaluable: he investigated the global workspace theory, the robot's self, the robot's emotions, and the role of phenomenal consciousness in a robot. Also, he was a pioneer in investigating the ethical aspects of machine consciousness. A tree is known by its fruit: more than his seminal scientific works, his real legacy consists of his schooling. Stan was not a solitary scholar. He was a true master, and many of his researchers are now active in AI and machine consciousness, continuing his works and his ideas.
I continue to miss Stan so much, and I suspect I always will, and I can only imagine how it has been for you and all of his other family, students and friends. I envy all of the years colleagues got to know and work with him, but I'm incredibly grateful for the handful of years that I had the pleasure of being his friend.
I also consider myself one of his students, even though we met after I'd finished my degree. The years I spent talking with him weekly were my second, and maybe most important, trip though graduate school, even though they accrued no formal credits. He fundamentally altered how I think about the world, how I write scholarly papers, how I think about training my graduate students, and just how I want to live life in general.
He was a huge presence in my life, despite our relatively new friendship. All that to say, please let Stan's family know (and the same is true for you all), that if there is anything I can do, not just now but ever, to help anyone of them with anything, I'm an email or call away and they should never hesitate to get in touch with me.
My experience of Stan Franklin was as a warm friend and congenial lunch companion. When the Math and Foreign Language Departments still shared the Winfield-Dunn building, I ate lunch in the third-floor lounge most days, along with a bunch of mathematicians and a few language colleagues. Stan was often there, and when he was, he often discussed his cognitive science ideas with all and everyone, including me. This was fascinating to me. I am by training a historical linguist (mainly older Germanic languages), though I also have long-time interest in Case Grammar and sometimes talked about it. This interested Stan – it fit nicely with his interest in artificial intelligence – and on a few occasions he asked me to speak about Case Grammar to one of his graduate seminars. This was most gratifying to me as a linguist – despite its explanatory power, Case Grammar has long been out of fashion, and I was pleased to see it get the attention it deserves.
Basically, I remember Stan as a mensh, a good and kind person with, yes, a brilliant mind. But it is the goodness that I will most remember.
I have many fond memories of Stan. One of the first was during a talk I gave shortly after arriving at Memphis as a junior faculty. A senior colleague I had not met was sitting at the front of the room. He peppered me with questions at various points in my talk. Despite the brevity of each question, despite the onslaught, it was incisive and deep -- and I felt almost dizzy from excitement at the issues being raised. They were theoretical. They pertained to the brain. To computational issues. To measurement.
I came to know this person as Stan, and learned that Stan knew about pretty much everything, and wasn't afraid to try to put it all together.
So after that talk, and after other meetings, I had the good fortune of getting to know Stan. I attended several of Stan's lab meetings, had lots of individual chats with him, and learned so much from him while at Memphis. In particular, I recall really being challenged to think about the mechanistic basis of consciousness -- Stan wasn't afraid to take on the toughest problems, and explore solutions to them by looking to the bleeding edge of cognitive modeling. To put it all together.
I am very thankful for these experiences with Stan Franklin. Part of that learning was seeing his widening eyes and smile when leaning into a theoretical debate. An endless spark of curiosity that seemed to inspire his students, and also his colleagues, all around him.
Dipankar Dasgupta, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Memphis
The BS program in computer science was established in 1982 during Stan Franklin's chairmanship, and since then new faculty joined in CS and Masters and PhD programs introduced. In 1997 January, I joined the University inspired by Stan’s works on Artificial Intelligence and his vision on future AI technologies. For many years, I attended his weekly seminars, severed as committee members on some of his PhD students and wrote research papers together. He served as my mentor, I used to seek advice and guidance in my academic life. Our intellectual discussions mostly happened during his monthly luncheon informal meetings at different restaurants with students and faculty from different disciplines.
Probably we had last lunch together in mid-2021, and received the following email on 9/8/21:
“Dipankar, I was so glad to read about your new grant. Congratulations. I hope it goes well. All the best, Stan”
He will always be remembered for his bigger than life personality.
Dr. Franklin had a significant impact on my career. It all started for me in the CCRG group in 2006, and Stan was a great mentor. He is a world-renowned scientist and a kind, gentle soul. During many one-on-one meetings, he always mentioned that questions are more important than answers and was constantly encouraged to ask them. I completed my masters under the guidance of Stan. I will always be indebted to him, as my journey would not have been possible without his support and mentorship.
Sidney D’Mello, Professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado
Stan’s had a transformational impact on my life, starting with our first meeting in Summer 2002, where he took an hour of his precious time to provide me with an overview of his IDA model. We then reviewed my application to the Masters program, where he admitted me on the spot by overlooking a few missing prerequisites (he cared about potential, not rules). He generously financially supported me from his research funds, when I had no viable way to pay for grad school, and no backup plan.
Stan was part of many of the “firsts” in my life. My first graduate school class was with Stan, where he taught me about AI, and more importantly, how to read deeply, think clearly, and ask lots of questions. My first research meeting was with Stan, where he made room for me – a clueless newcomer – to voice my opinion in an encouraging and intellectual environment. My first research publication was with Stan, where he helped me uncover my love for the scientific study of human cognition. And the first reading in every AI class I have ever taught is Stan’s chapter “History, motivations and core themes of AI.”
Stan invested in relationships as evidenced by his loving family and adoring students. He was so many things to so many people and I’m so lucky to have had his time and attention. We had a weekly lunch meeting for almost six years, where we discussed research, family, politics, our passions, and of course, more food. When I occasionally visited Memphis after leaving in 2012, Stan would pick me up for lunch at our “usual” spot, and our conversations never skipped a beat.
Stan had many scientific passions over his long career, but his LIDA model was his proudest achievement. I am so fortunate to have played a small role in helping develop it. But beyond the model itself, the intellectually stimulating environment of deep thought, reflection, and debate that Stan created during our weekly CCRG meetings is something that I will always cherish. It was free, open, unpretentious, and inspiring – all in the mold of the man himself.
My life would not have been the same without Stan’s presence in it. It was his encouragement and support that motivated me to stick around for the PhD. He captivated me with many ideas and taught me many research and life skills during the past 22 years. But most importantly, he taught me how to think.
I met Stan first time at 2010 when I went to the graduate school at University of Memphis. One of my first year classes there was his “autonomous agent” one. The class surprised me in different ways. There were no exams but lots of questions referring to the understanding of the texts on the book, and two one-hour presentations being required. As a “less talking” person, surprisingly I loved to answer those questions a lot. Also eventually I soon enjoyed giving the presentations. I think I found good channels to express my thoughts to the outside world. My thoughts got the appreciation through these channels, from where I experienced the true pleasures.
As Stan’s Doctoral student, I have been having the weekly meeting with him for around 6 years, on the New Year holiday seasons and other regular days. Over time, the academic activities became the essence of my daily life. As many Stan’s students may remember, one of his favorite questions is “ok, then what kind of thing is it?” He was always pushing and encouraging me, to himself too, to the farthest extent. Stan was soft—he was very open minded about the subjects I would talk about, the format I was using to deliver it, while he was quite straight—there is no room for me to put any incorrect things in front of him. The most emotional time I had with him during these days/years is Exciting. Working on my Ph.D program under him made me feel I was truly alive and my career path had been clarified.
After I graduated from the University, sometimes when I was thinking on some subjects or talking with other people excluding him, Stan’s voice was still there guiding me. Actually not only his words, but also his behaviors, demonstrated certain right standards to me, which helped me and became part of me.
Stan was also a very friendly and humorous person. As my advisor, especially a senior person from my grandpa generation, I was showing my respect to him by calling him “Sir” from the beginning. Stan had no problem with me calling him “Sir”, while he just came calling me “Sir” back! I did sense the humor there and his telling me that it is truly ok calling him by first name. After that, I referred to him by Stan more often in the talks with other people, but it was/is still hard for me calling him Stan in front of him. I think I directly called him Stan only about three to five times. The good thing was, after a while he was calling me by “Hello Daqi~” rather than “Sir” anymore. I guess he just got who I am and took me in.
Thank you, Sir! Stan. It was my pleasure having a chance to know you, to listen to you, and to work with you.
Dr. Franklin was chair of the department when I first joined as a graduate student.
I referred to a paper of his from 1960, where he gave a topological definition of a Frechet space, when I gave a talk (AMS, 1995) describing just how many different definitions of a Frechet space could be found in the literature.
When the math department began including computer science as a concentration (late 1960s, early to mid 1970s), Dr. Franklin discovered he could analyze the topology of neural networks (as a part of graph theory), and began collaborating in a study on artificial intelligence.
Even after the computer science people formed their own department, Dr. Franklin continued this collaboration, and I believe he was also working with the psychology department on the mathematics of how the brain works.
I never had him as a professor, but he always had enthusiastic responses whenever I asked him about details of his research.
I was Stan Franklin's postdoc between 2011-2013. I would like to talk about something apart from work. I do remember that sometime Stan and I were talking about meditation. At that time I was not into meditation and I think Stan was aware that I was kind of reluctant to that. One day, I think when I was leaving CCRG, I offered him Rumi's (a 13th-century Persian poet) book as a gift. After reading the book, Stan told me that at some point reading the book he had euphoria.
I never thought that someone in the west could go that deep with Rumi's poem (because of the translation) and still I think of that session with him.
Stan played a critical role in getting the Artificial General Intelligence conference series and associated movement off the ground in a number of different ways. Via his own work which pushed in that direction when so few had the vision and guts to do so. Via his unusual combination of warmth and openness with a sharp critical mind aimed squarely at working toward true understanding. And among other concrete steps, via hosting the first annual AGI conference at University of Memphis in 2008 -- a major step toward getting academic legitimacy for what at the time was a quite marginal pursuit in the AI research world. Things I learned from Stan at that conference and in our interactions before and after continue to play a major role in my own AGI research and my organizational work helping push the AGI conference series forward.
John Haddock, Professor, Mathematical Sciences, University of Memphis
In 1972, the Department of Mathematics at Memphis State University (MSU - now Mathematical Sciences at the University of Memphis) held a national search for a new Chair. When Stan’s name popped up in the search, several faculty members were surprised. He was a well-known topologist at Carnegie-Mellon University, so we wondered why he might be interested in coming to Memphis. We later discovered that he had been an undergraduate student at MSU and had been a student of Dr. Elna McBride, who, as luck would have it, was Chair of the Search Committee. We also learned that he had family in Memphis, so it was an ah ha moment. “Maybe we have a chance to get him after all.” To make a long story short, we did get him and we were excited about it.
But that’s not the end of the story. Stan, in my opinion, helped change the course, standards, expectations, and culture of the University, but he had a challenge on his hands in doing so. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he changed teaching responsibilities of the Department’s mathematics researchers from four courses ( 12 in class hours) per semester to two courses ( 6-8 in class hours) per semester. Maybe one, and at most two, other departments on campus were doing this, putting an emphasis on both teaching and research. At the time, he received significant pushback, both from administrators and other chairs. But he held his ground and was able to maintain this approach…and, as an important justification, his standards and expectations of faculty were high with respect to research coming out of the Department. Another long story short, the course, standards, expectations, and culture of the University have changed and Stan had a significant influence on this.
I have had the privilege of working alongside Stan since 1993, which is very close to 30 years. Over the course of those three decades, I have attended many of Stan's seminars and talks at IIS (Institute for Intelligent Systems), and each time, I come away with new insights and a deeper understanding of the concepts he presents.
One of the things that impresses me most about Stan is the way he explains complex ideas in a clear and insightful manner. His ability to communicate deep concepts in a way that is easily understandable is a rare talent, and one that has helped countless individuals better grasp the intricacies of artificial intelligence and other advanced topics.
In particular, there are a few concepts that Stan has explained over the years that have stuck with me. The first is his definition of learning, which he describes as a process or experience of a system that results in a change of the distribution of future behavior. To me, this is the best definition of learning that I have ever come across, and it has helped me better understand the various ways in which machine learning algorithms work.
Another concept that Stan has made a clear distinction between in his talks is "data" and "information". He has a unique way of explaining how data is raw, unprocessed material, whereas information is the result of processing that data to extract meaning from it. This has been invaluable for me in my work, as it has helped me better understand the importance of data processing and analysis in the realm of artificial intelligence.
Finally, I remember distinctly how Stan explained the concept of "Autonomous Agents" in one of his talks. He described these as self-governing entities that are capable of making decisions and taking actions based on their environment, and he illustrated this with several real-world examples. This was a new concept for me at the time, and one that has continued to fascinate me over the years.
All in all, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been colleagues with Stan for nearly 30 years, and to have had the opportunity to attend so many of his seminars and talks. His insights and explanations have been instrumental in shaping my understanding of artificial intelligence and related topics, and I am grateful for the knowledge and guidance he had provided over the years.
Stan was without doubt the most helpful and encouraging academic I have encountered since becoming a post-graduate, by a country mile, and possibly ever.
He achieved standards and combinations academics should aspire to, even though they could never hope to achieve it - though he did. Most never even try of course.
He was special in so many ways. He did manage to achieve high status as an academic: a professor, and also a journal editor at one time, and a significant research team leader. He ended up in his home city of Memphis but had trod the famous fields of Carnegie Mellon and California. So he was a success in conventional terms.
But he was a real open-minded creative intellectual too. Others can tell more about his interests in oriental culture; all I know is he spent a year in India and China, and practiced Tai Chi. But he was open to all sorts of new ideas in AI, and his book Artificial Minds explored many different approaches, not just a current favoured view in extreme detail, as is the common practice today. Instead of just sticking to e.g. vision, Stan looked hard at the sense of smell, and sought to throw some light on the sparse memory ideas that might help us (though not me) understand that sensory channel. Other cog. sci. concepts always remind me of him: the notion of a concept embodying a whole plan of action - the “go for a basket” idea that a sportsman might have, and the big question faced by all life: “what to do next”. Also of course, representing the choice of what path of action to select, the question: “what have you done for me lately?” Of course this also reminds me how inadequately I repaid his encouragement and care.
He was open-minded enough to contact me after reading my 1987 paper in the SIGART newsletter. Many professors wouldn’t do that, or offer the encouragement he did, and especially not subsequently include a chapter in his book on an idea by an apparent nonentity (though he did enquire about my research team, which made me smile). The Idea of Global Workspace Theory which he espoused, and sought to embody to some extent at least in his systems, was first implemented on a computer by a member of his team - Jeff Whitledge, and of course I was delighted for Stan to tell me they’d used my paper as a spec.
My feelings abut Stan include guilt aplenty. I felt it was my duty to familiarise with the various stages of his system -Lida etc- and explain and publicise them. I did try repeatedly to get my head around them but the structure was not one I could readily grasp and memorise easily. Other better-known systems are actually much simpler - even the highly mathematical ones. This I’m sure is why Stan’s group’s systems are not as well and widely appreciated as they deserve. They did hold email discussions with USN sailors discussing new assignments for them, convincing the servicefolk they were talking to a human.
During Stan’s sabbatical, a somewhat round the world affair, I was delighted to have him over for a couple of days to my modest home in Southampton. I fed him on curry from a local takeaway, and also fish and chips from a local shop. He did say the fish and chips was the best food he’d eaten in the UK… somewhat ruefully I fear. Still, I’m glad I was able to offer some kind of peak experience. When he left my house, he asked me if I was going to throw away the rather nice bar of Pears transparent soap I’d put in the bathroom for him. Stupidly I thought he didn’t like the idea of someone using the soap after him, so I immediately promised to throw it away when I got back from driving him to the airport. A couple of years ago I realised he probably only wanted to take it with him - presumably for its nice sandalwood aroma, so I went to buy some, hoping to send them to him - but the smell isn’t what it used to be.
On the way to the airport I asked him his Erdős number, and he told me it was 2 (not 1 as you will hear reported) [See Note on Stan’s Erdős number below]. Since Erdős was already dead when Stan told me that, I doubt it could have changed subsequently. (Stan didn’t tell me he knew him personally, from when he’d hosted him at Memphis.) Also on that car journey I suspected Stan started to suggest I should go to work on his team in Memphis, though I may have been wrong. Not only would it be unthinkable for me to work in a southern state of the USA, but I knew I was only going to want to work on purely my own ideas, and not as really just a computer programmer, and I knew we’d fall out if I worked for him. Would have been a fantastic feather in my cap though, as well as a memorable experience. Of course I realise with shame he’d probably already arranged grants etc, and I’d just said no thanks.
Despite Stan’s academic prominence, he very kindly acted as a reference when I applied for various jobs, always of an extremely mundane nature. It must have been a terrible waste of his time, and I shouldn’t really have asked.
Of course many people around the world know Stan without even realising his connection with maths/AI. As part of his open-mindedness and fearless thinking, he didn’t care a damn what a load of pompous nincompoops thought about human evolution, and he thoroughly appreciated the considerable aquatic influences that helped shape us. While at my place, I introduced him to one of my lodgers. (He was an U/G student who went on to base his project on my PAE version of GWT, so of course I introduced him to Stan. The IT employers watching his eventual presentation were more interested in his than all the other projects apparently. Another thumbs-up for GWT!) But I particularly remember Stan pointing to my lodger’s upper lip, and to how the two little ridges there can to close the nostrils, even now, in some people, and that always reminds me of Stan. Stan even organised and hosted an international conference on the Aquatic Ape Theory.
Stan graciously accepted my self-invitation to visit him in Memphis. What a wonderful experience! He and Jeannie, accompanied by Sunny, took me to eat at a catfish diner - Memphis is on the Mississippi, and traditionally at least they caught catfish there. Appreciation of that dish largely depends on your olfactory genes, and mine were horrified. But another day they took me to a sushi restaurant. Although I chose cooked food there it was much nicer - though no more memorable! Also they took me to a pork ribs restaurant. Even though I knew at the time it wasn’t the healthiest option, I stuffed myself stupid. I wasn’t proud of that but it was awfully nice.
Stan also dropped me and his son Sam off for most of a day to go round the world-famous Memphis zoo. It was fantastic! I seem to remember the aquarium, and also got my first look at a screamer. Impressive spurs! They also took me to see “Brokeback mountain” - and made sure I didn’t pay!
Not the least memorable impression was accompanying Stan to a regular week-end get-together with his extended family. Wow! Stan’s fairly immediate family is HUGE, and they have a very healthy way of running and enjoying themselves. It was an enormous honour to meet Stan’s children, and other relatives, and particularly Jeannie and also his kids Sam and Sunny, who hosted me and who were very interesting and nice.
I wouldn’t want to annoy people, but I’d say Stan was the best person I’d ever met.
I feel fortunate to have met Stan when I was a doctoral student at University of Memphis. His way of intervening during the seminars and his course, keeping the ongoing conversation on science alive, appeared to me as highly educational. As a person he was also so very kind, even in his criticism, because he was genuinely interested in ideas. I vividly remember two of his remarks regarding something I had said. After the fact, I thought they were simple, honest and constructive. Stan had taught me valuable lessons that remain with me today. I also remember with affection his recurring mention of the streetlight effect principle, which he illustrated by recounting the story of the drunk man who searched for his keys under a streetlight, because that was where it was the easiest to look. I always think of Stan when I think of this principle. His "Cognitive Theory of Everything" seemed both ambitious and intriguing, yet the research community he fostered to work on it showed it was a meaningful and realistic endeavor. This environment was highly stimulating and was one of the places that made the Institute of Intelligent Systems so exciting and fulfilling. My thoughts often revisit this place, with amazement, gratefulness and regret. Ten years after I left Memphis, as I had shown interest in his research on consciousness, I would still be on this mailing list through which we would regularly receive his invitations to discuss at lab meetings. Those invariably ended with these words: "please come and participate". I think that they capture well the kind of welcoming energy he impersonated. No doubt that the conversation he started will continue for years to come.
Dan Jones, physician, inventor, entrepreneur, and concerned citizen
Stan was my friend and chief mentor for 4 decades. In the early 1980s, diving into neural networks and AI, I took Stan’s seminar course on “Gödel, Escher, Bach--an Eternal Golden Braid.” That’s the book everyone displayed in their living room, but nobody read. In Stan’s class we actually read and understood it; and that profound lesson has lingered with me.
Seeing my interest in neural networks, Stan invited me to assist him and a grad student, David Kilman, with David’s neural network project. I hadn’t done such a project before, and would almost certainly have wandered off into the weeds. But Stan’s artful combination of liberty and leash kept us on-task, and the effort eventually, with assistance from Stan’s son-in-law Bob Sweeney, resulted in a useful product, “ADA, the Appendicitis Diagnostic Assistant,” that was marketed to physicians for several years by Challenger Corporation.
I don’t recall Stan ever being distracted or bored during our time together, or in meetings with others. At every encounter, he was constantly “present” and laser-focused on the topic of discussion. That was always nourishing and encouraging, and inspired me and others to emulate that communication ethos.
In that regard, I recall a humorous lunch one day at Bogie’s Deli on Mendenhall in the 90s. Stan was telling me, with “voluble” enthusiasm, about his recent reading in primatology. He told me how, interestingly, since chimpanzee females are highly promiscuous, whereas gorillas aren’t, chimp males have evolved much larger testicles than gorillas--the theory being that a larger sperm volume would more effectively displace the sperm of the previous paramour, thereby enhancing the reproductive success of the guy with bigger balls. I recall feeling distinctly uneasy when I noticed several ladies at the adjacent table becoming quiet and glancing askance at Stan, obviously wondering, “Who’s this guy going on about big balls and lots of sperm???” Stan never noticed, so deep was he in the topic at hand.
Though he was always kind and encouraging, Stan had little tolerance for intellectual sloth, obfuscation or muddle-headed thinking. Go there, and you were immediately lassoed with a demand for clarification. In that regard, he set a standard that serves us all well.
For many years Stan was both an anchor and a beacon in my life, as he was for many. My wife, Alicia, and I will miss him greatly. We fondly remember lively meals with him and his wife, Jeannie, on our visits to Memphis. Farewell, Stan. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and mentor, and for so carefully preparing us to accept the baton.
I met Dr. Franklin first time in 2009 when I moved to Memphis from Utah but even before I had moved, I was talking to him and my interaction has always been extremely interesting. He was a true inspiration and I really enjoyed all of his classes. He had a unique style of teaching that would intrigue everyone's minds and create that curiosity to learn more. I was very fortunate to be able to know him and finish my Masters degree under his guidance. He was instrumental in getting my career started and building a community that led to some great associations. I enjoyed my time as part of the CCRG research group and learnt a lot. He will always stay in our hearts and remembered fondly.
Stan kindly included me in his lunch group at A-Tan, and we became friends. In 2002, he agreed to serve on the Advisory Board of the newly established Astrobiology Research Trust -- he was open to challenging new ideas. In 2003, he accompanied me at a meeting at MIT with Seth Lloyd and Gerry Sussman, whom ART hoped to interest in a research project pertaining to evolution in open versus closed systems. Until recently, he, Chip Morrison and I often had lunch together to discuss the evolution of human language and behavior. He always alerted me to news that would interest me. He was a wonderful ally, advisor and friend. I will miss him.
We had a joint project in the mid-2000's with Stan and Walter Freeman from Berkeley. When Walter visited Memphis for a project meeting, we went out to grab some lunch, where else, to Atan. Then we had some intensive discussion on brain modeling, neurodynamics, AI, back and forth. At some moment Stan looks up and says: "Well, usually I am the senior in scientific exchanges, but now I feel like a student again when talking to Walter." Stan was a giant and pioneer in many respects, at the same time always an open minded, sincere, humble person. We miss him.
In my third year of graduate school, I had to take a computer science class for the Cognitive Science certificate. I was intimidated because I am trained as a philosopher and do not know any coding. It was suggested to my classmate Zak and me that we do a Research and Writing intensive with Stan Franklin. We were both very intimidated. Even more so when we were told that the class would meet in Stan’s living room.
To our surprise, this was not a grueling experience of coding boot camp with a mysterious computer wizard. Instead, we spend hours with Stan every week having illuminating conversations about the nature of mind, cognition, AI, and life. Stan was kind, funny and treated us as intellectual peers. I was impressed by just how intellectually open-minded Stan was, being well into his nineties. Stan wanted to know and understand all the newest theories in philosophy and cognitive science and wished to integrate these with his own thought. We came to enjoy our meetings with Stan, who quickly turned from a professor to a mentor and a friend.
Even after finishing the official portion of our class, we continued to meet and work with Stan, who also introduced us to his student Sean Kugele. Together the four of us produced an astonishing four journal articles in the span of a year and a half. Those meetings were as rigorous as they were stimulating and inspiring. Stan, despite his age, a global pandemic, and having to meet on zoom, easily stayed focused and engaged for three, sometimes four hours. In those days, Stan was an anchor in my life in a time of uncertainty.
Sometimes, Stan would tell stories from his life. Race car driving, military cargo planes, magic shows, meeting famous intellectuals, studying lions in the wild, and the list goes on. So many experiences and accomplishments without ever being pompous or pretentious. Stan was truly a renaissance man — I remember thinking, here is an example of how to live a full human life. Despite being in different parts of the country, Zak, Sean, and I are still friends, and we owe that to Stan’s mentorship and guidance.
When I joined the CS department as Stan’s colleague, I was touched by his humility and grace. Despite being a highly-accomplished senior faculty member, he was always easy to approach and very encouraging of young faculty. We quickly bonded over his love of Indian food and his vast knowledge of India from his travels. He was usually the first to nominate a young faculty for awards whenever an opportunity presented itself. He distinguished himself in his insatiable thirst for knowledge, despite having achieved so much in his illustrious career. I have and will always carry very fond memories of him. He truly made the world around him a better place for so many of us who were fortunate to get to know him.
Although I did not spend as much time with Stan over the years as his other colleagues, Stan's presence and guidance had an outsized impact on my life.
I took his Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course in 2003 and I still tell the story to this day. I remember the first session quite well. Stan told the class, "I am not going to teach you about AI so much as I am going to teach you how to teach yourself." That he did. The course was structured using the Socratic method, and after only a couple of sessions of being expected to read the material ourselves and be subjected to Stan's incisive questions, the majority of the class dropped out. I loved it, even though every time Stan would shuffle through his stack of index cards to call on the next poor soul, I would break out in a cold sweat. On the occasions that I answered particularly well, Stan's wry smile, acknowledging my accomplishment, made all the anxiety worth it and encouraged me to go further.
Having Stan advise me through my Master's Degree was a profound privilege. He sat on the panel for my successful thesis defense and that day was one of the proudest accomplishments of my life.
Thank you, Stan, with love.
When I think of Stan, fond memories of many discussions and debates emerge. I got to know when I joined the Department of Psychology and Institute for Intelligent Systems in 2000. Every week, Stan joined the Wednesday Cognitive Science seminar and every week I left the seminar feeling intellectually richer. Not that I always agreed with Stan. In fact, I often did not and I know this was mutual. Whenever Stan presented findings from IDA (and later LIDA) I asked questions to challenge the model, and Stan never hesitated to present IDA and LIDA predictions to challenge my findings. But that was the fun of academic debates: by having a friendly duel, you actually learned (as I now often need to remind my students).
The discussions Stan and I had during meetings on campus, but also the ones off campus (the Ethiopian restaurant on Union being my favorite place to have those academic discussions) have become memories that I will always treasure.
With the passing of Stan, the Institute of Intelligent Systems has lost one of its founders and one of its enthusiastic contributors. The IIS will undoubtedly live on, because that’s what Stan had wanted: an interdisciplinary institute where questions get asked, answers are given, and more questions are asked.
While I am writing this, the cover of Stan’s Artificial Minds stares at me. Artificial Minds. Even though the field of Artificial Intelligence has made major leaps since the publication of Stan’s book, so many of his ideas still remain so valid.
Stan was one of the most influential people in my life and I'm sorry to see him go. When I was a junior at the University of Memphis (at least I think it was UofM by that time and not Memphis State, the name changed right around that time), I had a personal project to use genetic programming to "grow" simulated robots for a little 2D robot battle game called PCRobots. I hit a roadblock where the system wasn't generating useful results. After going to the professor who taught the Genetic Algorithms class and getting blown off, I went to Stan to ask for advice. Not only did he talk me through the issue, he arranged for me to take one of his graduate courses as an undergrad. Before that, I hadn't considered post-graduate work. Over the next couple years, I took a few graduate courses and ended up getting to be on one of Stan's research projects as a new masters student. I ended up getting a PhD under him all made possible by Stan's unfailing support. I can confidently say that my life would have had a completely different trajectory without Stan's guidance.
Larry E. McPherson
This is an Appreciation Of My Best Friend Stan Franklin:
I met Stan and began a friendship with him and Jeannie during the 1978/1979 academic year when I was hired to teach photography in the Art Department at the University of Memphis. At the end of that year I spent a year on a Guggenheim Fellowship and Stan and Jeannie went on a year-long journey of learning in India and China.
After our separate sabbaticals, Stan and Jeannie returned to Memphis and our friendship resumed. I was in many of Stan's Gestalt Therapy Groups and gained much from them. Stan and Jeannie treated me like family.
Stan and I shared passionate interests in and experiences with nature, shamanism, eastern philosophies, etc. It was important to me that we had regular one-on-one time together, through walks and lunches, in which he was caring and supportive of me, and in which he shared what was going on in his life. Stan's absolute "presence" and attentiveness to me was most nourishing.
Stan was interested in and encouraging of my photography. Of all the people in Memphis I showed my work to, Stan gave me the most useful feedback. Although visual art was not his professional field, Stan really responded at a professional level to it. He also gave me useful advice and encouragement as I worked on my "Memphis" book. Stan and Jeannie introduced me to the person who commissioned my "Beirut City Center" book.
I am very grateful for my friendship with Stan and I will miss him dearly!
Chip Morrison, Professor Emeritus, University of Memphis
Several years ago, I read one of Art Graessser’s papers in which he raised a provocative question about human learning. Why, Art asked, do humans learn best in the context of dialogue with relative experts? The answer, it seemed to me at the time, was obvious. We learn best through dialogue because that’s how nature designed us to learn. But what exactly does that mean? How did this happen? What combination of selection pressures, precursor traits, and natural genetic variation could possibly have produced a creature that teaches and learns by talking? Over what period of time did this occur? And why was it that only humans evolved such a capacity?
Before long I found myself writing a few papers, and eventually a book, in which I tried to answer these and other questions about the relationship between the origins of language and the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next—through discourse among relative experts and novices. Several colleagues helped, but none more than Stan Franklin. Stan read, and commented carefully on early drafts of the book. We met for lunch on numerous occasions, and while I doubt he fully agreed with my emerging story, he never failed to ask good questions, and always listened carefully to my answers. And whenever he came across a relevant research article, he’d send along a link. They came almost every day for years! In short, I would not have been able to write the book, which I view as one of my biggest accomplishments, without Stan’s help and subtle pedagogy. I will miss our lunches. I will miss Stan’s intellectual generosity. He had a way of making me feel smart and important. And, as I assume the other tributes in this collection will attest, I was not by far the only one who felt honored in this way. I'm guessing he made us all feel smart and important. I claim Stan Franklin was the best colleague ever.
I came to the University of Memphis as an international graduate student in 1993. I met Stan when I took his AI class and has been my mentor since then. As many of his graduate students could attest, Stan has a way to make you his family member. Stan’s scholarship and love of good conversation in any topic is inspiring too many and I am one of the beneficiaries. He will make sure his PhD students grow not only their required formal education, but also encourage all to be part of stimulating multi-disciplinary discussions. While I was a student, I was lucky to attend many of the weekly lunch get-togethers Stan and his colleagues used to have that exposed me to a lot of stimulating intellectual conversations. Academically, I benefited from his graduate courses and I am eternally grateful for supervising my computer science PhD work.
I cannot forget Stan’s welcoming me to his family especially soon after my arrival to the USA. As an international student from a developing country, one can imagine how significant support that was. I am sure anyone will not forget watching the first and last (at least so far for me) circus show. Stan got me a ticket for a circus show and took me along with his two small children - Sunny and Sam. As I remember fondly, I was more excited watching the animals and the many acrobatics in the circus than Sunny and Sam. Stan must have enjoyed watching the excitement of three of us more than the show itself. I am grateful to Stan and his wife Jeannie for sharing the many good times in their family since 1993.
Stan has been a great influence in my life. I will cherish the memory of the many dining get-togethers, the many conversations on multiple common interests such as our common experience of living in India, and also sharing of his wisdom and many stories I cannot get enough of. I owe Stan an eternal gratitude for being my mentor, a friend, a family, an advisor not only academically also in life. I cannot be where I am now without Dr. Stan Franklin’s mentoring and guiding care.
My Stan stories are many. One time I remarked to him, after seeing Memphis from the top of the Libertyland ferris wheel, that Memphis looked like a forest from 60 feet, with only a few buildings poking out of the canopy. Soon after, he was being interviewed on local TV and remarked that Memphis looked like a forest when viewed from a height.
Stan was one of those teachers who students hold dearly because he always had time to listen.
D. Kimbrough Oller (Kim) and Ulrike Griebel Oller (Julia)
We came to the University of Memphis in 2002, and one of the most important reasons for the decision was the existence of the Institute for Intelligent Systems and its extraordinary interdisciplinary activities and intellectual climate. We knew Stan Franklin was one of the founders of the IIS, but we did not know the level at which we would have the opportunity to get to know him both as a colleague and a remarkable friend. Remarkable, indeed! Stan was one of the most inspiring people we have ever met both on the personal and the intellectual level. One of the most wonderful things about our relationship with him was jointly participating in and conducting the Cognitive Science Seminar multiple times. It was so much fun. We will miss him, but we’ll remember for as long as we live the gift of knowing him.
We have just one unique tidbit to offer about Stan’s role in our lives. We have long been advocates of the “waterside hypothesis”, previously often called the “aquatic ape hypothesis”. It’s based on the idea that human bipedalism, hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, voluntary vocal control, and a variety of other features are the result of hominin evolution at waterside—it rejects the idea that hominins evolved primarily on a dry savannah. The waterside hypothesis is an idea that most card-carrying paleoanthropologists abhor. They start squealing like a pig caught under a gate as soon as they hear anything about it. Normally they have lots of words to use, but with regard to the waterside idea they can only think of a few: “outlandish, bizarre, outrageous”.
So we thought we’d be fighting an uphill battle in Memphis to present this idea at all, but guess what? Stan Franklin just scoffed. Of course, he said, the waterside idea is the only one that makes any sense. He’d been an advocate for it for many years. He was utterly unafraid to champion a line of thinking that ran the risk of being called “outlandish”. Actually it seems to us that the reason the waterside hypothesis is so detested by the traditionalists is that it is so attractive to so many outside of paleoanthropology that take the trouble to look at the evidence of hominin evolution the way Stan had done. Well, Stan Franklin was a real gentleman, but he was not deterred from speaking his opinion. Eventually, we think, his opinion on the waterside hypothesis will be vindicated, but that vindication may require a whole new generation of paleoanthropology to see reason. We sure hope Stan will be looking down on the scientific endeavor when that intriguing idea takes its proper place in the pantheon of understanding of who we all are.
The first time I met Stan, I was giving a presentation in the Cognitive Science seminar about my M.S. thesis, with the perhaps overly ostentatious title, "Towards Genetic Grammar Induction using Fractal Neural Networks."
I was on my very first slide (after the title slide), and had just displayed the text "A grammar is a reduced representation" when Stan interrupted me and said "What do you mean by 'reduced'?"
I believe my response was along the lines that a grammar specified a potentially infinite set of strings in some language, but in a compact (non-infinite) way. But I the same time, being a cocky young lad, I was thinking, "Seriously buddy, I'm not even through my first slide, maybe you should wait 30 seconds to see if I answer your question."
But as I got to know Stan better, I realized that in that moment he wasn't quizzing me or being pedantic. Rather he was just so interested in what I was saying that he wanted to make sure he got absolutely all of it. He was probably more interested than anyone else in the room.
This will always be how I think of Stan: leave no stone unturned and meticulously examine everything, because if you look at it from a new direction, you may see something you never saw before.
Edward (Chip) Ordman
Part of this was email exchange with Pat Faudree and Art Graesser. Pat is wife of Dr. Ralph Faudree (now deceased), an accomplished mathematician and former Chair of Mathematical Sciences and Provost of the University of Memphis. .
I love the piece about the unhappy student. Before I learned to speak more slowly (hey, people in New England speak faster) a student came to Stan and asked what foreign country Ordman came from.
As Chair, often Ralph dealt with student complaints about teachers. One frustrated soul came to say he didn't like how this guy taught. Ralph answered “Well, what's the person's name?” The student responded “I don't know. But he wears red, sometimes mismatched with orange, and he always has on a necklace with a picture of his dog.”
Stan hired me in the Spring or early summer of 1983, so he was still chair then. When I arrived in August 1983, Ralph was the chairman. He called me in and said Prof. Lee had quit on no notice, they had to rearrange who taught which CS course, could I teach microcomputer internals? I said - with no ulterior motive, just honesty - that Eunice and I had divided computer science between us, that that course was in her half, and I'd be happy to teach it but sometimes might have to ask Eunice for help on details. When I got home that afternoon, Eunice said that Ralph had called her, interviewed her, and hired her. (She had applications out at several local small colleges and the community college, not at Memphis State since she did not have a Ph.D.)
Regarding my being here in Memphis in 1981-82, I was having a somewhat difficult romantic relationship at that time. Stan, among his other interests, ran group psychology sessions for some years, and in 1981-82 I attended. Stan and one of his daughters at that group were an immense help to me in my developing relationship with Eunice, who I married in 1983 after I’d returned to New Hampshire.
Stan had remarkably broad interests. As a person with wide interfaith interests, I was fascinated by Stan’s interest in religions of the Indian subcontinent and in Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, which I understood to be the origin of his interest in dressing in bright colors, paisley, and the like. I do not know how long Stan's interest in that Guru lasted.I remember the name by the mnemonic "Baksheesh Ragbag"; Stan got a kick out of that. I may have invented that because New England College about that time acquired a president named Roald Bergethon, and Roald's secretary passed the word that we could all remember his name easily if we used the mnemonic "Ronald Burgerking."
My history with Stan Franklin goes back to 1971 or so when Stan was a mathematician by day and a human potential guru by night at the human potential center he founded called "Gateway". I attended an interpersonal workshop led by Stan based on his understanding of Gestalt Therapy by Fritz Perls. I remember it being a cozy and warm experience and I met a number of new friends that night, including Stan himself.
A year or two later I had been living and studying inner peace at an ashram in Berkeley called The Living Love Center, headed by Ken Keyes, Jr, and based on his book, "The Handbook to Higher Consciousness." I had been living and learning the Living Love methods, and wrote a letter to Stan asking him if he was interested in me coming to Memphis to give a workshop on Living Love at Gateway. Stan wrote back, "Sure, we'd love to have you."
That led to my coming to Memphis in 1973 with a motorcycle and a backpack. I was offered shelter by a woman I'd met at the original workshop who, when Stan announced the upcoming Living Love workshop, responded with, "I'll be happy to help coordinate the workshop. I've read the Handbook to Higher Consciousness and I thought it was great! He can sleep on my couch while he's here." The workshop went well, and for a couple of years, I became a fixture offering Living Love workshops and Sing-Ins at Gateway. I grew closer and closer to Stan and we spent a number of evenings and afternoons together talking about the things that mattered to us and each other.
I'm not sure how it came up, but Stan and I began to discuss Artificial Intelligence, and I even took an AI class with him although I was not really a UM (at the time it was Memphis State) student, and worked with another student of Stan's on a simple AI demonstration of AI programming called, "Solar Sam." But mostly we talked about where we were in our lives and what we hoped to get to.
I especially remember one occasion when we were driving around in my car, just talking and 'hanging out' together. At the time, I had been smoking cigarettes since I was 13, and had had no luck in forcing myself to quit. I mentioned to Stan that I felt that I had two warring sides within me, one wanting to be good, healthy, and smart, i.e., quit smoking. On the other side was a personality I called, "the kid," and that kid wanted what it wanted when it wanted it. Quitting smoking was not what the kid wanted, and it always seemed to win in the long run.
Stan said, "Your problem is that you see the two sides as being in opposition to one another. You need to accept that both sides are equally good, valid, and worthy parts of yourself, and you need to learn to integrate them, not try to have one beat out the other."
That was the turning point in my smoking saga; instead of trying to overrule the kid, and deny him what he wanted, I began to speak to him.
Each time I wanted a cigarette I'd say to the kid in my head, "It's OK for you to smoke if you really want to, and I want you to know that the time is coming when you will no longer want to smoke." Then I'd light up that smoke. It took a number of years, but one day I reached in my pocket for a cigarette, pulled it out, and looked at it. I knew right then that I'd come to the end of the line with them, and tossed the pack into the garbage. It's been about 30 years now and I have not even wanted to smoke a cigarette ever again.
This is the sort of friendship that I have enjoyed with Stan Franklin for about 50 years. I have loved him like an older brother. Although I have not lived in Memphis for many decades now, the woman who helped me with the Living Love workshop, and put me up when I showed up in Memphis with the backpack, motorcycle, and Living Love became my wife and mother of my daughter. We are no longer married but still on good terms, and it turns out she is Stan's cousin. I had frequent opportunities to return to Memphis to visit over the years, and each time I'd try to spend some time with Stan. We shared sushi and discussed AI, evolution, and politics with equal interest and joy. My last time in Memphis was in early January, and I managed to get to sit with Stan for a couple of hours in his final days. He still wanted to make time for us to spend together once he got well again.
I told him, "You'll need to stay alive, then."
He said, "Yes, that's the trick."
There are so many stories... starting from the first day I met him in his old CompSci office in 1990. His ability to connect with a total stranger caught my interest and attention. I still recall it as if it happened yesterday: During that first meeting, he climbed on a stool to retrieve a framed picture from the top of the bookshelf in his office – the picture taken at IIT Kanpur, India when he taught there for a couple of years in his early career. Over the years as I worked with him on my doctoral degree, he was supportive and always there to listen and guide. The hours spent discussing ideas either in his office, or on walks around the campus were invaluable. After I graduated, while I lived in Memphis, spending time with him over lunch to discuss research, or politics of the Indian subcontinent or the Middle East were times that I will never forget. Stan was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. I am fortunate and grateful to have known such a wonderful soul.
I met Stan during my graduate studies in the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis. His impact on my life, both personal and professional, has been immense. Few people could move with as much skill and grace among as many topics as Stan. Fewer still could do that while being fully grounded in all that life has to offer. For instance, our discussions about music, from how LIDA can help us understand music cognition to our favorite types of music, and everything in between, were always equal parts enjoyable and inspirational.
Stan truly and deeply cared about his family, friends, colleagues, and students. One could see it in the way he told stories. You could also see it in the way that he was fully present for those around him. While Stan may not be physically with us anymore, his presence still remains in a deep and meaningful way. I hear his voice when I read his papers and book. I likewise hear his advice when working on new projects, especially anything to do with LIDA. While I may not be able to talk with Stan in person anymore, his words are forever in my mind and heart. For that, and for everything else, I am eternally grateful.
Vivek Shandilya, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Memphis
I mentioned couple of times how I was in the class of Stan Franklin who was in the class of Norbert Wiener and How he taught us to define concepts in AI class! And here I see that he left his physical body hours ago but continues to live in spirit! Thank You Sir,
You shall continue to live on…. Condolences….
I am still amazed by Stan's eagerness to support and help others. Even perfect strangers five thousand miles away. He definitely believed in people. He was able to see the potential in me even before I saw it myself. For me, this is what defines an excellent teacher and mentor. Stan literally changed my life. I know that I am not original by saying this, but I don't know any other way to express it.
I met Stan for the first time remotely in 2008. I was in my native Argentina working as a computer programming instructor. I also had a passion for artificial intelligence which I had never developed much until then. A few months earlier, I joined a student group in a small university in Buenos Aires to explore this area a bit more. Almost by chance, we contacted Stan to learn more about one of his papers and after a few email exchanges we arranged to have a video call. There wasn't Zoom or Meet at that time, and our first call was audio only. My English skills were very limited at that time; I was sure that the experience for Stan had been terrible, and I thought that that had been my first and last talk with him. To my surprise Stan wrote to me that he enjoyed the meeting, and that he wanted to talk more. He acknowledged that there were some communication issues (an understatement), and that he would work on that. He subscribed to a better communication software, and we had smoother meetings from then on. One year later, we finished our first paper together, and not much longer, he invited me to do a PhD with him. This changed the course of my life forever. He not only helped me in my academic goals, he also opened the doors of his house and family to welcome us to our new place in the world.
Stan was passionate about many things including artificial intelligence, math, tai-chi, and of course good food. We had many discussions about these, and more. With him, I learn how to cultivate and strengthen my ideas. If I could convince him of a new one, it was surely rock solid.
Over the years he taught me many things: how to be a researcher, how to write papers, and more importantly, how to pursue my dreams. I still remember his words every time I have doubts about a difficult (and probably rewarding) path in my life: "Go for it Javier!"
Professor Stan Franklin was my PhD advisor, the sharpest person I have ever met in my whole life. I met Dr. Franklin in the summer of 1991 in a cognitive science seminar when we discussed the topic of neural networks and became his PhD student two years later. During my 4 years of pursuing my doctoral degree under him at the University of Memphis, Dr. Franklin had conversations with me weekly for research direction advising and exploration in the newest research topics. I had learned not only the broad knowledge from him directly, but also been beneficial from his encouragement for new AI research topics. Under his advisory over the four years, I have published several academic papers and received high awards from the AI fields global wide. We successfully received a couple of research grants in AI fields. Dr. Franklin impacts on me in many ways.
Ron Sun, Professor and Department Head, Cognitive Science Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
I am saddened to hear of Stan’s death.
Stan was a giant in the academic world and among the cognitively oriented researchers in AI, to which he devoted himself in recent decades. He will be remembered not only for his influential books and other work in this area (and in other areas), but also for his nurturing of younger academics and his devotion to his academic institutions.
I have had fond memories of visiting him in Memphis on multiple occasions and our long conversations about many topics then. I once had the opportunity of inviting him to be the keynote speaker at a major international conference that I helped organize, but for family reasons, unfortunately, he could not make it. But what I did hear from him on various other occasions will remain an inspiration.
My condolences to his family and his close colleagues at University of Memphis.
In 2007, Stan was my guest at the Technology and Ethics working group of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He then spent a few days as my guest during a period when my wife was luckily not home. Luckily, I say, because Stan spent those days force feeding me LIDA. It was grueling at times, but eventually exhilarating as our differing understandings came to converge. My goal was to forge a comprehensive model of moral decision making in humans and in computational systems. The result of those days was a few articles I co-authored with Stan and my colleague the philosopher Colin Allen. It also helped Colin and me write a penultimate chapter for our book Moral Machines. Like so many others I will always be in Stan’s debt.
Stan Franklin played a key role in initiating the annual Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), as well as the associated research community.
In 2006, Ben Goertzel and I organized a small workshop on Artificial General Intelligence, in which Stan presented his work on LIDA. During and after the meeting, the participants discussed the possibility of starting a conference to facilitate the communication and cooperation on this topic. Stan showed a strong passion in making it happen and made the arrangements for the first conference to be hosted by Memphis University in 2008. Stan served as the Conference Chair, with Ben Goertzel and me as Programming Committee Co-Chairs. During the preparation of the conference, Stan impressed me deeply in his organizing capability and cooperative spirit. The conference was a great success, and as a consequence, it has become an annual event occurred in many places in the world.
In recent years "Artificial General Intelligence" has become a widely accepted concept, both by the academic community and the general public. Though the concept is still interpreted differently, Stan Franklin will be remembered as the Chair of the very first conference of this field.
Your dad had one of the most unique teaching styles throughout my college experience. I was originally very intimidated, but honestly it prepared me for things to come. By the end of the semester I looked forward to those classes and the intensity they had. I know he had a huge impact on the AI community and many others like myself going through the Univ of Memphis comp sci program. Thoughts and prayers to you, Sam, and the rest of your family. ❤️
Stan Franklin was my PhD advisor. One of the best professors and persons I have ever met in my entire life. Deepest condolences to his family.
Tom Fagan, Emeritus Professor and historian, Psychology Department, University of Memphis
Stan was major influence in MSU changing to UM and becoming a true research university. Huge loss to UM. Keeping all of you in my prayers.
Randy Floyd, Professor and Chair of Department of Psychology, University of Memphis
What a major loss, Art. I'm sorry. Thanks for letting us know.
Thank you for letting us all know about Stan’s passing. This is such sad news. I am glad I had a chance to get to know him a little bit in the work the three of us did together. I will always remember him as a brilliant mind with limitless curiosity.
It was a pleasure being able to talk and work with him. I've never collaborated with researchers from another institution before, but Stan was so welcoming, open, and genuinely interested in my thoughts and problems, he made it seem like the most natural thing in the world - I'm very thankful for that. My condolences to colleagues and family.
Sorry to hear of his passing. I enjoyed my interactions with him. He was definitely a leader in cognitive architecture and will be missed.
Stan Franklin's book "Artificial Minds" has been for me, and for generations of scientists working at the intersection between AI and Cognitive Science, one of the major intellectual maps shedding light on possible, unexplored, research trajectories aiming at providing a better understanding of human and artificial cognition. He will be greatly missed.
Brent Morgan, Research Scientist in Memphis
Every time he spoke, I always learned something.
W. Paul Mouchon
By just listening to Stan I learned a most excellent way of considering how one might go about thinking; it has been a priceless possession. I along with so many grieve his absence.
Phil Pavlik, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and the Institute for Intelligent Systems
Stan was always such a great guy to me. He really made me feel welcome when I joined the IIS. I've missed him at the seminars
John Sabatini, Professor, Institute for Intelligent Systems
I never had the opportunity to get to know Stan but I know he was important to you and to the IIS. The stories of him are legendary and the IIS is his and others’ legacy. Our condolences to his family and friends.
This is very sad and shocking news. I knew and always highly respected Stan Franklin as the great cognitive scientist, author of one of the best-known cognitive architectures. My deepest condolences and respect to Stan and his family.
Deborah Tollefsen, Department of Philosophy and higher Administration, University of Memphis
Thanks, Art. This is sad news. The last thing we need is one less smart person in the world.
<center><b>Additional Biographical Notes</b></center>
Publications and CV (from Steve Strain)
I've attached a CV, which I believe Stan prepared after his 2013 retirement in support of his application for emeritus status. I've followed this with a list of his post-retirement publications, which I compiled in support of his application to renew his graduate faculty status a few years ago. There were 30 papers published after his retirement, about 3 per year. The publications are listed in reverse chronological order.
Kronsted, C., Neemeh, Z. A., Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (forthcoming). Modeling long-term intentions and narratives in autonomous agents. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness.
Neemeh, Z. A., Kronsted, C., Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2021). Body schema in autonomous agents. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness, 8(1), 113-145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1142/S2705078521500065.
Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2021). Learning in LIDA. Cognitive Systems Research, 66, 176-200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2020.11.001
McCall, R., Franklin, S., Faghihi, U., Snaider, J., & Kugele, S. (2020). Artificial motivation for cognitive software agents. Journal of Artificial General Intelligence, 11(1), 38-69. doi:10.2478/jagi-2020-0002
Ryan, K., Agrawal, P., & Franklin, S. (2020). The pattern theory of self in artificial general intelligence: A theoretical framework for modeling self in biologically inspired cognitive architectures. Cognitive Systems Research, 62, 44-56. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2019.09.018
Franklin, S. (2020). Global workspace theory, LIDA and IDyOT. Physics of Life Reviews. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plrev.2020.04.002
Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2020). Conscious" multi-modal perceptual learning for grounded simulation-based cognition. In S. Denison, M. Mack, Y. Xu, & B.C. Armstrong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2459-2465). Cognitive Science Society.
Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2020). A study in activation: Towards a common lexicon and functional taxonomy in cognitive architectures. In Proceedings of the 18th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Cognitive Modelling (pp. 138-144).
Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2020). General intelligence requires autonomous, cognitive, intentional agents. In Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems.
Franklin, S., Strain, S., Kugele, S., Madl, T., Ait Khayi, N., & Ryan, K. (2018). New developments in the LIDA model. APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, 17(2).
Ait Khayi, N., & Franklin, S. (2018). Initiating language in LIDA: learning the meaning of vervet alarm calls. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 23, 7-18. doi: 10.1016/j.bica.2018.01.003
Madl, T., Franklin, S., Chen, K., & Trappl, R. (2018). A computational cognitive framework of spatial memory in brains and robots. Cognitive Systems Research, 47, 147-172.
Agrawal, P., Franklin, S., & Snaider, J. (2018). Sensory memory for grounded representations in a cognitive architecture. In Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems (ACS Poster Collection) (pp. 1-18).
Franklin, S., Madl, T., Strain, S., Faghihi, U., Dong, D., Kugele, S., Snaider, J., Agrawal, P., Chen, S. (2016). A LIDA cognitive model tutorial. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 105-130. doi: 10.1016/j.bica.2016.04.003
Madl, T., Franklin, S., Chen, K., Montaldi, D., & Trappl, R. (2016). Towards real-world capable spatial memory in the LIDA cognitive architecture. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 87-104.
Madl, T., Franklin, S., Chen, K., Trappl, R., & Montaldi, D. (2016). Exploring the structure of spatial representations. PloS One, 11(6), e0157343.
Dong, D., & Franklin, S. (2015). A new action execution module for the learning intelligent distribution agent (LIDA): The sensory motor system. Cognitive Computation. doi: 10.1007/s12559-015-9322-3
Dong, D., & Franklin, S. (2015). Modeling sensorimotor learning in LIDA using a dynamic learning rate. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 14, 1-9. doi: 10.1016
Dong, D., Franklin, S., & Agrawal, P. (2015). Estimating human movements using memory of errors. Procedia Computer Science, 71, 1-10. doi: 10.1016
Faghihi, U., Estey, C., McCall, R., & Franklin, S. (2015). A cognitive model fleshes out Kahneman's fast and slow systems. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, 11, 38-52.
Madl, T., Franklin, S. (2015). Constrained incrementalist moral decision making for a biologically inspired cognitive architecture. In R. Trappi (Ed), A Construction Manual for Robots' Ethical Systems. Springer.
Madl, T., Franklin, S., Snaider, J., & Faghihi, U. 2015. Continuity and the flow of time: A cognitive science perspective. In B. Mölder, V. Arstila & P. Øhrstrøm (Eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time. Springer.
Agrawal, P., & Franklin, S. (2014). Multi-layer cortical ;earning algorithms. IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, Cognitive Algorithms, Mind, and Brain (CCMB), 141 and 147.
Dong, D., & Franklin, S. (2014). The action execution process implemented in different cognitive architectures: A review. Journal of Artificial General Intelligence, 5(1), 47-66.
Dong, D. & Franklin, S. (2014). Sensory motor system: Modeling the process of action execution. In M. Bello P., Guarini M., McShane M. & Scassellati B. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2145-2150). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Franklin, S. (2014). History, motivations and core themes of AI. In K. Frankish & W. Ramsey (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence (pp. 15-33). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Franklin, S., Madl, T., D'Mello, S., & Snaider, J. (2014). LIDA: A systems-level architecture for cognition, emotion, and learning. IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, 6(1), 19-41. doi: 10.1109/TAMD.2013.2277589
Madl, T., Franklin, S., Chen, K., Montaldi, D., & Trappl, R. (2014). Bayesian integration of information in hippocampal place cells. PLoS ONE, 9(3), e89762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089762
Snaider, J., & Franklin, S. (2014). Modular composite representation. Cognitive Computation, 6(3), 510-527. doi: 10.1007/s12559-013-9243-y
Snaider, J., & Franklin, S. (2014). Vector LIDA. Procedia Computer Science, 41, 188-203.
Strain, S., Kugele, S., & Franklin, S. (2014). The ;earning intelligent distribution agent (LIDA) and medical agent X (MAX): Computational intelligence for medical diagnosis. Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, Orlando, FL (SSCI 2014), Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Human-like Intelligence (CIHLI), 78-85.
<center><b>Selected Chronological Notes</b></center>
Steve Strain and Sunny Franklin (Daughter of Stan and Jeannie)
Steve first wrote out this story in a text to Sunny, not being too sure of my memory. Sunny confirmed the gist here as being the same as the version that everyone in Stan’s family has heard many times.
After Sunny told Steve Strain she had found an old report card of Stan's on which he had made a B in topology, Steve recalled the following story.
I think Stan told me this because he and I both attended Christian Brothers High School. I believe I heard it twice over the years, but my memory of Stan's exact telling is fuzzy. The version I have in my head goes like this. I'm sure it's embellished, but I believe the overall effect is the same as when Stan told it to me.
Stan had a math class with a professor that he had very little respect for. Maybe it was 10th grade? The class was boring, and Stan refused to do any of the homework assignments, or even pay much attention during class. In spite of this, he made 100s on all the tests. Even so, the teacher gave him a failing grade because of his missing homework assignments. Stan was required to go to summer school.
Nothing changed in summer school. Stan continued to be bored in class, not turning in homeworks and getting 100s on all the tests. So the teacher gave Stan an F for summer school. This meant he would have to repeat that 10th grade math class.
Stan's father was not pleased. He had a conversation with Stan, and Stan explained why he was getting an F. Stan's father arranged a teacher-parent conference with the teacher and the headmaster. I can't remember the names, but they were both Catholic brothers.
The meeting began with Mr. Franklin asking why his son was getting an F when he was making perfect scores on all of the tests and clearly had an excellent understanding of the required material. The teacher explained that Stan's attitude was very poor, and that he refused to pay attention in class or turn in any homework. Therefore, his homework grade was zero. Mr. Franklin was not satisfied. The teacher went on to say that since Stan wasn't turning in any homework, he wasn't really sure that Stan's test scores accurately reflected his knowledge, as students with such poor attitudes frequently cheat on tests.
The headmaster interrupted: Had the teacher ever asked Stan to explain the problems that he had worked? He had not. So the headmaster asked Stan to explain one. Stan recited a problem from the previous test and verbally went through the steps required to arrive at the solution. The headmaster looked at the teacher. Is this correct? The teacher frowned, but said yes, it was. Again, said the headmaster. So Stan repeated this process with a second problem. The headmaster again looked at the teacher, who once again frowned, and simply nodded. The headmaster glared at the teacher for a few moments, and the teacher fidgeted uncomfortably in silence. Make it right, the headmaster finally said. Stan's summer school grade was changed to a C-. He would not have to repeat the course.
Years later, when Stan was in graduate school at UCLA, he mailed the teacher a copy of a few of his published topology papers. I don't remember which titles Stan said he sent, but he was certain that the teacher would have zero chance of understanding them.
So when I heard that Stan made a B in topology, I feel sure that grade is a reflection of Stan's lack of respect for the professor rather than an assessment of Stan's ability in topology!!!
From Steve Strain’s meeting notes
At age ~19, Stan worked in the Marines removing, repairing, and installing the super heterodyne receiver in aircraft. He could not solder well enough and was eventually no longer allowed to solder. On the other hand, he excelled at diagnosing problems for repair.
Charles Brandon, Fedex employee # 6, was a member of Stan's gestalt therapy group. Charles was essentially Fedex's original Chief Technology Officer, and he helped Stan create one of the first computer literacy courses in the world.
Stan wrote it up in PC Magazine, November 1982, "A Lab for All Seasons." Fred Smith's attorney and Stan's jogging partner Frank Watson raised $135K to equip the lab.
UCLA, beginning graduate student 1959, moving from Memphis. Hallie was not yet born. A visiting Iranian professor gave Stan a book on Omar Khaiyyam, leading to the following paper.
Franklin, S. 1960. “Eudoxus, Omar, and continued fractions”. Scripta Mathematica 25, 353-355.
Alistair Windsor’s notes on Stan in the Mathematics Department at University of Memphis
From what I understand, when Stan was hired as chair in 1972, our math department had only just been approved for awarding PhD degrees and had virtually no research footprint. At that time, Ralph Faudree, Richard Schelp, and Cecil Rousseau were assistant professors and not yet tenured.
Stan had to haggle with my old family friend Jerry Boone, who back then was Vice President for Academic Affairs, to get funding to support the visit of Paul Erdős, which as you know resulted in stellar collaborations with these young professors and catapulted the department into the highest tier.
In the early 1980s, Stan developed a computer literacy program with the assistance of associates at Fedex was one of the first (and by one measure the first) such programs in the country, and which led to the genesis of the computer science department.
Stan stayed with us longer than Ralph, Dick, or Cecil but these folks were hired shortly thereafter. John Haddock was hired shortly after that and is still very active. He retired from U of M but has been part of the National Science Foundation for several years.
A Note on Stan’s Erdős Number (from Steve Strain)
Stan's actual Erdős number is 2. Here is the evidence of this.
Stan co-authored the following papers with Yechezkel Zalcstein:
"Testing homotopy equivalence is isomorphism complete," Discrete applied mathematics 13.1 (1986): 101-104.
"Computational Complexity: Homeomorphism vs Graph Isomorphism," Congressus Numerantium, 48(1985) 105-114.
Zalcstein has an Erdős number of 1, as evidenced by the following:
Erdős, P., Gyárfás, A., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1989). The size of chordal, interval and threshold subgraphs. Combinatorica, 9(3), 245-253.
Erdős, P., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1987). Bounds on threshold dimension and disjoint threshold coverings. SIAM Journal on Algebraic Discrete Methods, 8(2), 151-154.
Erdős, P., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1993). Clique partitions of chordal graphs. Combinatorics, Probability and Computing, 2(4), 409-415.
Erdős, P., Gyárfás, A., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1989). The size of chordal, interval and threshold subgraphs. Combinatorica, 9(3), 245-253.
Erdős, P., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1987). Bounds on threshold dimension and disjoint threshold coverings. SIAM Journal on Algebraic Discrete Methods, 8(2), 151-154.
Erdős, P., Ordman, E. T., & Zalcstein, Y. (1993). Clique partitions of chordal graphs. Combinatorics, Probability and Computing, 2(4), 409-415.
Therefore, anyone who has co-authored a paper with Stan has an Erdős number of 3 (unless, of course, they have also co-authored a paper with an author of Erdős number 1 or 0.) But there is a little more to the story. Stan was Chair of UM’s math department when Erdős came to Memphis in the mid 1970s. Stan had to haggle with Jerry Boone, who was the provost at the time, to get funds to support Erdős's visit to Memphis. Stan was successful in obtaining these funds. So it was under Stan's leadership that Erdős was successfully brought to Memphis. This enabled an enormous number of MSU math professors to obtain an Erdős number of 1. For instance, in addition to the above collaborations with Zalcstein and Ordman, the young trio of Ralph Faudree, Richard Schelp, and Cecil Rousseau collectively co-authored 50 papers with Erdős. While Stan did not technically have an Erdős number of 1, Dr. Baars' pronouncement certainly has a kernel of truth in it!
Alexei Samsonovich provided this link to a virtual panel discussion from August 27, 2012
Details of the event: https://seminar.bicalab.org/meetings/videopanels/#VP6