Two-minute interview

Like Jim Davies, you too can be profiled in a future issue of Carleton Now. We’re pleased to put the spotlight on the University’s dedicated faculty and staff who make Canada’s Capital University an outstanding place to learn and work. Just click on the Two-Minute interview link—you might just see yourself in an upcoming issue.

Name: Jim Davies

Title: Assistant Professor

Department: Institute of Cognitive Science

Years of service: Five months

Are you a Carleton graduate?

No, I have a PhD in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology

What is your function at Carleton and why is it important?

I am a continuing professor. I teach classes in cognitive science methodology and artificial intelligence and conduct research. These fields endeavour to understand how intelligence works: how we solve problems, figure out what to do and be creative. You can think of it as the ultimate meta-problem because all problems would be better served with greater intelligence, artificial or natural.

What is it about your job that inspires you?

I love being a part of a campus, filled with young people with new ideas and guest speakers from many fields. I consider it my primary job to do research, and I like to get undergraduates involved in my current projects where possible. Right now I’m trying to understand the regularities in human visual imagination—such as when people imagine scenes or shapes. For example, when people picture a triangle, they almost always imagine the triangle with a flat side, rather than a point, facing down. Perhaps this is because if the triangle were an object, this orientation would make it more stable on the ground.

What are your hobbies?

Comedy improvisation, writing plays, swing dancing, hip hop and calligraphy.

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