Jon Doyle, a native of Houston, Texas, attended summer schools at Rice University and won awards in mathematics and other activities in junior high school, but dropped out of high school midway through the tenth grade. He studied viola, composition, and conducting before entering South Texas Junior College (now University of Houston-Downtown) midterm in November 1971. After transferring to the University of Houston in September 1972, he studied physics and mathematics and won additional mathematics awards. He received his baccalaureate (summa cum laude) in Mathematics in December 1974 as a student of Joseph Schatz, writing the first bachelors thesis in mathematics at that institution, a piece of original research on a problem of Thue.
Doyle worked briefly for Shell Oil Company as a programmer, and in 1975 entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Hertz Graduate Fellow. A student of Gerald Jay Sussman, he received his master's degree in 1977 for his work on truth maintenance systems. The next spring (1978), he and Drew McDermott invented nonmonotonic logic. He received the doctorate in 1980 for a dissertation about controlling reasoning and action through dialectical deliberation and introspection, with McDermott, Marvin Minsky, and Peter Szolovits joining his thesis advisor Sussman as readers.
After graduation, Doyle moved to Stanford University, where he took a research position in Computer Science under John McCarthy working on foundational issues in nonmonotonic and introspective reasoning. In 1981 he moved to a research position in the Computer Science department at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he worked on the mathematical and economical foundations of artificial intelligence and developed his theories of reasoned assumptions, rational self-government, and mechanical interpretation of psychology and economics. In 1988 Doyle moved back to MIT to serve as Principal Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Computer Science Clinical Decision Making group, where he worked on distributed reasoning and agent technology, qualitative decision theory, representation of preference information, theories of limited rationality, mechanical theories of psychology, and economic theories of reasoning and planning.
Doyle moved to North Carolina State University in 2001 to serve as SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. His research there concerns qualitative decision theory and the representation of preference information, the structure and interpretation of rational reasoning and behavior, and mechanical theories of psychology and economics.
Doyle has published one book (Extending Mechanics to Minds: The Mechanical Foundations of Psychology and Economics, Cambridge University Press, 2006), over eighty technical papers, and has edited four books and journal issues. Numerous of his articles have been reprinted in collections, some more than once, including translations into Japanese and Russian. He has served as principal investigator and key participant in several funded efforts on distributed planning, knowledge-based monitoring, computer security, patient protection and empowerment, and autonomous negotiation. He has advised and co-advised numerous undergraduate and graduate students.
AAAI elected Doyle to the rank of Fellow in 1991 for ``fundamental contributions to the fields of nonmonotonic reasoning, truth maintenance, metareasoning, and the philosophical foundations of artificial intelligence''. Doyle won elections to serve as chair of ACM SIGART for 1989-1991 and as a member of the AAAI Executive Council for the 1996-1999 term. Doyle presented invited addresses at AAAI's 1990 national conference and at several international conferences.
He served as a director of Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Inc., as an associate editor of Computational Intelligence, the Journal of Logic, Language and Information, AI Communications, ACM Computing Surveys, as the president of the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning conferences (program co-chair of KR'94 and conference chair of KR'96), as associate editor and member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and as the co-organizer of the 1996 ACM/CRA Workshop on Strategic Directions in Computing Research, as well as the co-chair of the artificial intelligence report committee of that workshop.
Doyle lives with his wife and children in the Raleigh area, where he pursues interests in nature, history, and musical composition.