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Dr Adam Linson

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Professional biography

I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Computing and Communications, in the Faculty of STEM at the Open University (UK). I develop models to simulate neurobiological and behavioural processes, to help understand aspects of mental health (psychiatry), the environment (ecology), and culture (music cognition). I also do research in philosophy, mainly related to science and technology. My academic collaborations span Scotland and the UK, Europe, Japan, and North America. I was previously an Anniversary Fellow in Computing and Philosophy at the University of Stirling, and a Fellow or Visiting Fellow at UCL, University of Edinburgh, and University of Oxford. 

I am also Co-Director of the Innogen Institute (a joint venture between the OU and the University of Edinburgh that facilitates connections between life science innovation and UK policymakers). Beyond the life sciences, I am a team member of two current research projects. One is on AI and Education (£25K pilot funding), in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, that combines computer vision, machine learning (ML), data visualisation and interactive interfaces (HCI), to provide educators with insights into student learning processes. The other incorporates Digital Humanities, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, a 2.4 million euro ERC Advanced Grant on 'Art and Inequality in the Post-Black Death Century' (c.1348 to 1500).

Apart from academic research, I perform and compose music across various contexts. My main instrument is the double bass, and current musical collaborations typically involve improvisation and digital media. In 2021, I was commissioned to compose a new work, partnering with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, that premiered live on BBC Radio 3. I continue to perform internationally at festivals, concert halls, clubs and galleries, and can be heard on a range of live and studio recordings.

Teaching interests


Active inference, stressors, and psychological trauma: A neuroethological model of (mal)adaptive explore-exploit dynamics in ecological context (2020-02-17)
Linson, Adam; Parr, Thomas and Friston, Karl J.
Behavioural Brain Research, 380, Article 112421

Zoocentrism in the weeds? Cultivating plant models for cognitive yield (2020)
Linson, Adam and Calvo, Paco
Biology & Philosophy, 35, Article 49(5)

Reframing PTSD for computational psychiatry with the active inference framework (2019)
Linson, Adam and Friston, Karl
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 24(5) (pp. 347-368)

The Active Inference Approach to Ecological Perception: General Information Dynamics for Natural and Artificial Embodied Cognition (2018-03)
Linson, Adam; Clark, Andy; Ramamoorthy, Subramanian and Friston, Karl
Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5, Article 21

A Subsumption Agent for Collaborative Free Improvisation (2015)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris; Lewis, George and Laney, Robin
Computer Music Journal, 39(4) (pp. 96-115)

The expressive stance: intentionality, expression, and machine art (2013-12)
Linson, Adam
International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 5(2) (pp. 195-216)

A parsimonious cognitive architecture for human-computer interactive musical free improvisation (2013)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 196 (pp. 219-224)

Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation (2017-12)
Linson, Adam and Clarke, Eric F.
In: Clarke, Eric F. and Doffman, Mark eds. Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music. Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice (pp. 52-69)
ISBN : 9780199355945 / 9780199355914 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York

Patterns of Sociohistorical Interaction Between Musical Identity and Technology (2017-02-23)
Linson, Adam
In: MacDonald, Raymond; Hargreaves, David and Miell, Dorothy eds. Handbook of Musical Identities. Oxford Scholarship Online (pp. 403-419)
ISBN : 9780199679485 | Publisher : Oxford University Press

Machine Art or Machine Artists?: Dennett, Danto, and the Expressive Stance (2016)
Linson, Adam
In: Müller, Vincent C. ed. Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Synthese Library (376) (pp. 443-458)
ISBN : 978-3-319-26485-1 | Publisher : Springer International Publishing | Published : Cham

Identifying Student Struggle by Analyzing Facial Movement During Asynchronous Video Lecture Viewing: Towards an Automated Tool to Support Instructors (2022-07-27)
Linson, Adam; Xu, Yucheng; English, Andrea R. and Fisher, Robert B.
(pp. 53-65)

Critical issues in evaluating freely improvising interactive music systems (2012-05-30)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC) 2012 (30 May - 01 Jun 2012, Dublin, Ireland)

Improvisation without representation: artificial intelligence and music (2012-03-31)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : Music, Mind, and Invention Workshop: Creativity at the Intersection of Music and Computation (30-31 Mar 2012, Ewing, New Jersey, USA)

Interactive intelligence: behaviour-based AI, musical HCI and the Turing Test (2012)
Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin
In : Revisiting Turing and his Test: Comprehensiveness, Qualia, and the Real World, Symposium no. 7 at AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012: Alan Turing Year 2012 (2-6 Jul 2012, Birmingham, UK)

Unnecessary constraints: a challenge to some assumptions of digital musical instrument design (2011-07-31)
Linson, Adam
In : International Computer Music Conference 2011 (31 Jul - 5 Aug 2011, University of Huddersfield, UK)