Professor Marcus Hutter

Portrait of Marcus Hutter
Research Area:
+61 2 612 51605

Marcus Hutter is Professor in the RSCS at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. He received his PhD and BSc in physics from the LMU in Munich and a Habilitation, MSc, and BSc in informatics from the TU Munich. Since 2000, his research at IDSIA and now ANU is centered around the information-theoretic foundations of inductive reasoning and reinforcement learning, which has resulted in 100+ publications and several awards. His book "Universal Artificial Intelligence" (Springer, EATCS, 2005) develops the first sound and complete theory of AI. He also runs the Human Knowledge Compression Contest (50'000€ H-prize).

Artificial intelligence, Bayesian statistics, theoretical computer science, machine learning, sequential decision theory, universal forecasting, algorithmic information theory, adaptive control, MDL, image processing, particle physics, philosophy of science.

Research Description

During the last 15 years, Marcus Hutter has developed an exciting mathematical model for a reinforcement learning agent behaving optimally in an arbitrary unknown environment - a kind of Super String theory for AI.
The theory (necessarily) integrates and draws from and contributes to many fields: computer science (artificial intelligence, machine learning), engineering (information theory, adaptive control), mathematics (probability, statistics), and also economics (rational agents, game theory), psychology (behaviorism, motivation, incentives), philosophy (inductive inference, theory of knowledge).
While nowadays most AI researchers avoid discussing intelligence, his theory even constitutes a mathematical, objective, non-anthropocentric, sound and complete, direct measure of rational intelligence and a formal though incomputable definition of a super intelligent agent, amenable to rigorous mathematical analysis.
It also allows us to regard existing approaches to AI as effective approximations, thus giving students and researchers a much more coherent view of the field.

Research Outline

"I work on a mathematical theory of general Artificial Intelligence, which can be used to address many theoretical, philosophical, and practical questions regarding super intelligent agents. Generally I'm attracted by fundamental problems on the boundary between Science and Philosophy."

Mr Mikael Boors »

Occupational Trainee

Mr Elliot Catt »


Tom Everitt

Mr Tom Everitt »

PhD student

Mr David Johnston »

Honours Student

Mr Sean Lamont »


Sultan Javed Majeed

Mr Sultan Javed Majeed »

PhD student

Mr Aaron Stockdill »

Summer Scholar

Mr Tobias Wangberg »

Occupational Trainee

Mr Alvin Wong »


COMP3000 series courses
Code Title Year 20.. Semester
COMP3630 Theory of Computation 18, 20, 22 S1
COMP8000 series courses
Code Title Year 20.. Semester
COMP8620 Advanced Topics in Artificial... 17, 19, 21 S2
COMP4000 series courses
Code Title Year 20.. Semester
COMP4620 Advanced Topics in Artificial... 17, 19 S2

Updated:  8 September 2015/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing