UNSW Conjoint Professor Toby Walsh, from the School of Computer Science and Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, has achieved a major coup by becoming the first Australian in a decade to be admitted as a fellow to the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Walsh, who is based at the Kensington laboratories of NICTA (National ICT Australia), and is also a Visiting Professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, was made a fellow of the prestigious international association for "significant and sustained contributions to automated deduction and constraint programming, and for extraordinary service to the AI community".

The AAAI is a scientific society devoted to advancing artificial intelligence and building the understanding of how the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behaviour can function in machines.

Professor Walsh is conducting research in the field of advanced combinatorial problems - AI systems which are able to process multiple possible options in a complex situation and then choose the best outcome.

"I was thrilled to receive this fellowship," Professor Walsh said.

"It's very nice to be recognised by your peers and it's a great indication that artificial intelligence in Australia is healthy and can compete on the world stage."

Head of the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Professor Paul Compton, congratulated Professor Walsh on his award.

"This is a fantastic achievement," Professor Compton said.