Eric Postma (1961) is a professor in Artificial Intelligence at the Cognitive Science & AI department at Tilburg University and at the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a joint initiative of Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University.
He received his M.Sc. in 1989 at the University of Nijmegen; his thesis about a connectionist model of implicit and explicit memory was largely based on an internship at Leiden University. His Ph.D. in 1994 at Maastricht University concerned a biologically inspired model of covert attention and it served as an inspiration for his current research, which focusses on the use of data science (machine learning) in image recognition and cognitive modelling.
Next to the development of models and theoretical frameworks, he always has and had an open eye for applied research. For instance, starting in the mid 1990s, he focused on the development of visual recognition and classification techniques for the cultural heritage. Subsequently, he launched the development of digital analysis methods for paintings. As a direct consequence, he was the leader of several scientific NWO projects in the programme ToKeN (“Toegankelijkheid en Kennisontsluiting in Nederland”) en CATCH (Continuous Access to Cultural Heritage). Moreover, together with prof. C. Richard Johnson Jr., he initiated an international consortium for digital painting analysis. The work by his research group has been covered extensively in the media since 2000. In 2008 Postma and his team ranked second in the annual “Academische Jaarprijs” with a presentation on the breakthroughs of digital painting analysis. Together with Laurens van der Maaten, he received the AAAI-08 Most Innovative Video Award for a scientific video of the digital painting analysis. Currently, Postma is coordinating the REVIGO project. Over the years, his main interest remained human perception and cognition, and the modelling thereof with AI techniques. Professor Postma (co-)supervised some 70 M.Sc. and 20 Ph.D. students. He has published in numerous cognitive science and AI journals.
How should society deal with AI? Professor Postma’s essay ( in Dutch, in English), gives a gentle and down-to-earth overview of AI and describes how we should transform into a digital society. The essay is part of a bundle of essays published by NL DIGITAAL.