He received his B.A. with first-class honours in Physics from Oxford University, 1982, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford, 1986. He then joined the faculty of UC Berkeley where he is currently a professor of computer science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering.
In 1990, he received the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, and in 1995 he was co-winner of the Computers and Thought Award. He was a 1996 Miller Professor of the University of California and was appointed to a Chancellor's Professorship in 2000. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University. He is a Fellow and former Executive Council member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.
He has published over 100 papers on a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence. His books include "The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction" (Pitman, 1989), "Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality" (with Eric Wefald, MIT Press, 1991), and "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" (with Peter Norvig, Prentice Hall, 1995, 2003).