Simon Levy Professor of Computer Science

Simon Levy

Parmly 407B
Website - Curriculum Vitae
On Leave Fall 2023

Simon Levy came to Washington and Lee in 2002.  He is also the faculty advisor to W&L Hillel.


Ph.D., computer science from Brandeis University (2003)
M.A., linguistics from the University of Connecticut (1991)
B.A., linguistics from Yale University (1987)


Robotics, Neuromorphic Computing, Philosophy of Mind

Current Research:
Professor Levy's research is driven by the question: what kinds of things suggested by the architecture of the brain, if we modeled them mathematically, could give some of the properties that we associate with mind?   His most recent paper addresses this topic from the perspective of robotics. His current work with students involves software for controlling miniature aerial vehicles. Previous work has included publications on artificial intelligence for video games, improving machine translation of human languages, and software tools for parallel computing.


Primary Courses:
Introduction to Robotics, Advanced Topics in Robotics, Neuromorphic Computing, Programming Language Design 

Selected Publications

Recent Publications:

Levy, S.D. and C.W. Lowney (2021) (S)Ex Machina and the Cartesian Theater of the Absurd. In C. Vernalis, S. Kara, J. Leal and H. Rogers, eds., Cybermedia: Explorations in Science, Sound, and Vision, Bloomsbury Press.

Levy, S.D. (2020) A Simple Platform for Reinforcement Learning of Simulated Flight Behaviors. Proceedings of Living Machines 2020 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), Springer Verlag.

Levy, S.D. (2020) Robustness Through Simplicity: A Minimalist Gateway to Neurorobotic Flight. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 16 March 2020.

Lowney, C., S.D. Levy, W. Meroney and R. Gayler (2020) Connecting 21st Century Connectionism and Wittgenstein.  Philosophia, 11 March 2020.

Kaplan, D.T., S.D. Levy, and K.A. Lambert (2016). Introduction to Scientific Computing and Programming in Python. Mosaic Books.

Other Publications

Levy, S.D., C. Lowney, W. Meroney, and R.W. Gayler (2014) Bracketing the Beetle: How Wittgenstein's Understanding of Language Can Guide Our Practice in AGI and Cognitive Science. In B. Goertzel el al. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (Lecture Notes in Compute Science 8598, Springer-Verlag).

Levy, S. D., S. Bajracharya,, and R.W. Gayler (2013) Learning Behavior Hierarchies via High-Dimensional Sensor Projection. In Learning Rich Representations from Low-Level Sensors: Papers from the 2013 AAAI Workshop.

Gayler, R.W. and S. D. Levy, eds. (2011) Compositional Connectionism in Cognitive Science II: The Localist / Distributed Dimension. Connection Science 23:2.

Levy, S.D. (2010) Becoming Recursive: Toward a Computational Neuroscience Account of Recursion in Language and Thought. In H. van der Hulst (ed.) Recursion and Human Language. Mouton De Gruyter.

Gayler, R.W., S.D. Levy, and R. Bod (2010) Explanatory Aspirations and the Scandal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Proceedings of Brain-Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2010. ISO Press.

Levy, S.D. and R. W. Gayler (2009) "Lateral Inhibition" in a Fully Distributed Connectionist Architecture. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Media Experience

Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cognitive Science, Language/Linguistics

Interviewed for a feature article in the Roanoke Times about robotics course (24 May 2004)

Other Interests

Professor Levy enjoys playing Old Time music on the fiddle with Rockbridge-area musicians, practicing martial arts, playing paintball, and participating in events sponsored by Washington and Lee Campus Hillel and other cultural organizations.