Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Faculty Directory

Sven Koenig

Profile picture

Professor of Computer Science


  • Doctoral Degree, Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Master's Degree, Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Master's Degree, Computer Science, University of Hamburg
  • Master's Degree, Business Administration, University of Hamburg


Sven Koenig is a professor in computer science at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 for his dissertation on "Goal-Directed Acting with Incomplete Information." He also holds M.S. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a distinguished speaker of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the recipient of an ACM Recognition of Service Award, an NSF CAREER Award, an IBM Faculty Partnership Award, a Charles Lee Powell Foundation Award (which provided USC start-up funding), a Raytheon Faculty Fellowship Award, an IEEE Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award, a Mellon Mentoring Award, an SAIC Student Advisement Award, the Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching and Education, five AAAI and one WIC Certificates of Appreciation, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Tong Leong Lim Pre-Doctoral Prize of the University of California at Berkeley. Sven was also a program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2010 to 2012, where he received the Director's Award for Collaborative Integration in both 2011 and 2012. Several of his students won awards as well (including best paper, best dissertation, best research assistant, and best teaching assistant awards) and took their first jobs in academia. In 2016, one of them (Prof. William Yeoh) was selected by IEEE Intelligent Systems as one of the "AI's 10 to Watch" 2015 ("10 young stars in the field of AI," chosen every two years from researchers around the world).

Sven has edited several conference proceedings and published more than 200 papers in various areas of artificial intelligence and robotics, including more than 30 papers at AAAI and IJCAI (the two main artificial intelligence conferences), as well as papers in planning (ICAPS and its predecessors AIPS and ECP), agents (AAMAS and its predecessor Autonomous Agents), machine learning (ICML, COLT), numerical artificial intelligence and control (NIPS, UAI, AI and Mathematics), knowledge representation and reasoning (KR, CP), robotics (ICRA, IROS, RSS), games (AIIDE, FDG), and others. He was conference co-chair of the 2002 Symposium on Abstraction, Reformulation, and Approximation (SARA), the 2004 International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), and the 2009 International Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS). He was program co-chair of the 2005 International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS), the 2007 and 2008 AAAI Nectar programs, the 2015 AAAI Conference, and the 2016 and 2017 Symposia on Educational Advances in AI (EAAI). He is chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (ACM SIGAI), an editor of AI Magazine (where he helped to start both the "Competition Report" and the "AI in Industry" tracks) and the Communications of the ACM (Research Highlights), and an associate editor of the Artificial Intelligence journal, the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, and the Journal on Advances in Complex Systems. He was a councilor of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR), an associate editor of Computational Intelligence and JAIR, and a member of the steering committees of ICAPS, SoCS, and SARA. He co-founded both Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS), a highly selective robotics conference, in 2005 and SoCS, the first regular meeting of the search community in artificial intelligence, in 2009.

Additional information about Sven can be found on his webpages: idm-lab.org.

Research Summary

Sven is interested in intelligent systems that have to operate in large, nondeterministic, nonstationary or only partially known domains. Most of his research centers around techniques for decision making (planning and learning) that enable single situated agents (such as robots or decision-support systems) and teams of agents to act intelligently in their environments and exhibit goal-directed behavior in real-time, even if they have only incomplete knowledge of their environment, imperfect abilities to manipulate it, limited or noisy perception or insufficient reasoning speed. He believes that finding good solutions to these problems requires approaches that cut across many different fields and, consequently, his research draws on areas such as artificial intelligence, decision theory, and operations research.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, including Agents, Decision Making, Games, Learning, Markov Decision Processes, Mobile Robotics, Multi-Agent Systems, Multi-Robot Coordination, Navigation, Planning, and Search.


  • 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow
  • 2017 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2015 University of Southern California (USC) Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching and Education
  • 2013 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Fellow
  • 2012 National Science Foundation (NSF) Director's Award for Collaborative Integration
  • 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Director's Award for Collaborative Integration
  • 2009 University of Southern California (USC) Mellon Mentoring Award: Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Students
  • 2003 Georgia Institute of Technology Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award
  • 2001 International Business Machines (IBM) Faculty Partnership Award
  • 2000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award
  • 1999 Georgia Institute of Technology Raytheon Faculty Research Award
  • Computer Science

  • SAL 312
  • Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center
  • 941 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 781

Contact Information
  • (213) 740-6491
  • skoenig@usc.edu


Return to Faculty Directory