Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr., an internationally-recognized academic leader and computer scientist, specializes in the fields of machine learning and interactive artificial intelligence. He became the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s provost, or chief academic officer, in August 2023.
Isbell, who describes himself as a computationalist, previously served at Georgia Tech, where he was on the computing faculty for 21 years, and dean of the highly-ranked John P. Imlay Jr. College of Computing for four years. In his time there, he led an effort to transform the curriculum and a major initiative to broaden participation in computer and data science.
Originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., Isbell received a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His research interests are varied but the unifying theme has been using machine learning to build autonomous agents that responsibly engage with humans. His work has been featured in the popular press, congressional testimony, and in several technical collections.
He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the Association for Computing Machinery, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Outside of his campus role, he has vast and varied interests, including music, sci-fi, comic books, sports, and food.