Professor Andy Wills
Professor in Psychology
School of Psychology (Faculty of Health: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences)
I became interested in artificial intelligence through an early interest in computers (I was paid for my first computer program at age 14). I studied psychology as an undergraduate (Southampton, 1990 - 1993) because of a (still-held) belief that psychology can inform the design of intelligent systems. A continuing interest in neural networks led to me studying for a Ph.D. with computational learning theorist Ian McLaren (Cambridge, 1994 - 1998). I continued my Ph.D. research as a Junior Research Fellow (Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1998 - 2000).
Keen to secure a permanent position, and interested in teaching as well as research, I moved to Exeter University, where I became a lecturer (2000), senior lecturer (2005), and then associate professor (2006). In 2012, I moved to Plymouth as a full professor.
Research methods, cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
I'm the lead author of the Creative Commons teaching materials Research Methods in R.
Staff serving as external examiners
My principal interest is the categorization of visual objects. This interest has also led me to work on the role of errors and attention in learning more generally. By some metrics, I'm in the top 1% of my field worldwide (the methodology for this calculation can be found here).
I'm also a strong advocate for open science. I'm the local network lead in Plymouth for the UK Reproducibility Network, the Editor of the newly-formed Open Journal of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience, and the maintainer of a number of R packages, including catlearn (an open repository of learning and categorization models, with over 15,000 downloads to date).
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
2019: Angus Inskter
2016: Charlotte Edmunds
2014: Henrietta Roberts
2014: Fayme Yeates
2006: Fraser Milton
2005: Alice Welham
2004: Kazuhiro Goto
Grants & contracts
2017 - 2020: Learning from total failure (ESRC)
2010 - 2013: The Exeter Science Exchange (EPSRC)
2011 - 2012: confidential project (QinetiQ)
2011 - 2011: IED threat awareness (CDE, Defence)
2009 - 2010: Neuroscience of human associative learning (British Council)
2006 - 2007: Unsupervised categorization (ESRC)
2005 - 2007: From Associations to Rules (EC FP6)
2002 - 2004: Acquisition of polymorphous concepts (BBSRC)
Key publications are highlightedJournals