Dr. Stirling is currently the Dean of Graduate Studies and a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Dr. Stirling’s research interests include stochastic processes, control theory and signal processing, with a recent focus on multi-agent systems theory, game theory, and social choice theory. He received his BA (Honors) in mathematics from the University of Utah in 1969, his MS in electrical engineering from the University of Utah in 1971, and his PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1983. From 1972 to 1975, he was employed by Rockwell International Corporation, Anaheim CA and Hill Air force Base, UT, and from 1975 to 1984 he worked for ESL Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. He joined the faculty of Brigham Young University in 1984.
Dr. Stirling's current research interests are in the area of multi-agent decision and control theory. His approach is a considerable departure from conventional approaches to this problem and is motivated by the observation that the methods of single agent decision making, based as they usually are on individual rationality (optimization), do not extend well to the multi-agent case. Game theory is often taken as the multi-agent instantiation of multi-agent optimization, but game theory also is based on individual rationality, and is therefore not ideally suited for cooperative multi-agent control scenarios. This research seeks to define evaluate alternative notions that fall under the general heading of "satisficing." Satisficing differs from optimization in that it involves intra-option comparisons, rather than inter-option comparisons, and provides sets of "good enough" options rather than a single "best" option. This approach permits the representation of group, as well as individual, interests, and leads to realistic protocols for negotiation.