Professor Michael Luck
Telephone: +44 020 7848 2562
Office: S3.37, Strand Building, Strand Campus
Research Group: Distributed Artificial Intelligence
- Intelligent agents
- Multi--agent systems
- Norms and institutions
- Trust and reputation
- Agent-oriented software engineering
What aspects of your role as Head of Natural and Mathematical
Sciences do you find most enjoyable or inspiring?
What does your current research focus on and what do you hope
I think it’s the ability to influence the student experience. It’s the ability to do things we haven’t done before. It’s the ability to think about what will make our programmes better, what will make our environment better, what will make the culture at King’s better and how we can help support students to achieve as much as they can at King’s.
For example, we’re creating a new student study space and computing lab for NMS students that we want to be state of the art, with spaces for group meetings and presentations. We decided to do that because we thought it would be an important and valuable asset for our students.
Who or what would you say has inspired your research the most?
I work in the area of multi-agent systems. Multi-agent systems are systems made up of separate machines that communicate, interact and work together collaboratively to achieve things they couldn’t achieve by themselves, or not as efficiently by themselves. My work is concerned with the mechanisms and techniques needed to achieve that by giving the individual components, the individual computers, their own artificial intelligence.
What do you most enjoy about working in London?
When I was an undergraduate, I had an exceptional undergraduate project supervisor and that was when I learned that I had a passion for research. My undergraduate project had a very strong research component, and my undergraduate project supervisor, who is now one of the staff in the Department of Informatics at King’s, was the person who inspired me to do this. And that was Professor Derek Long.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’ve worked in many different places, in London and outside London, and although every place has it’s own distinct and unique features – London has everything. You can do anything that you want to do and at King’s you can do it all within a stone’s throw. We are at the centre of culture, sport, music and literature, and what’s really crucial about working in Natural and Mathematical Sciences is that we are in the centre of the science and technology hotspot of the UK.
Why should students choose to study in the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at King’s?
When I have the time, I really enjoy going to the pub on a Friday evening with the PhD students in the school. I don’t always make it, but it’s really nice to be able to chat and find out what’s going on in the group. Outside of work, I have a passion not for football, but for my football team, Chelsea. I inherited that passion from my father and so when I can, I take the opportunity to watch Chelsea with him.
What’s the best advice you could offer a GCSE or A Level student
In NMS, we have the right combination of core disciplinary strengths in mathematics, physics, informatics, computer science and chemistry. It’s a combination of strengths in those core disciplines and interdisciplinary activity that offers exciting opportunities for both education and research, not just within these departments within the school but also across the College.
There’s a lot of obvious interaction between Physics and Chemistry for example, and Mathematics and Informatics are collaborating on things like big data, but we also reach out to other departments and other parts of the College. We’re working in collaboration with the health schools here at King’s. We’re working on security in collaboration with War Studies. We also have the Institute for Mathematical and Molecular Biomedicine that connects Mathematics to Biological Sciences. There’s a whole range of different interactions that are taking place.
So, King’s is not just about the excellence in the core disciplines, but it’s also about the richness that we get from being in such a vibrant university that allows us to take advantage of the excellence that permeates the entire institution.
hoping to study at King’s?
What do you find most enjoyable or inspiring about teaching?
The best advice I could give would be not just to study to pass exams but to study for understanding, because the things that students are learning now are those things that will be the basis of their university education and their degrees and subsequently their careers afterwards.
Practice is the most crucial thing. If students are working on mathematics, then practicing to make sure they are not just competent but they find it easy and straightforward so that it’s part of their general understanding is the most crucial thing. Students will have to do the same things when they come to university in terms of practicing, whether it’s mathematics exercises of whether it’s computer programming.
For me, teaching is not a one-way process. Teaching is all about a dialogue with students. That’s because the act of teaching must itself be a rewarding experience, in being able to interact and to engage with students and to help them understand – not by providing standard textbook material but by explaining the richness and the delight and excitement of the subject and seeing them share in that.