John E. Laird (born March 16, 1954 in Ann Arbor, Michigan) is a computer scientist who, with Paul Rosenbloom and Allen Newell, created the Soar cognitive architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Laird is a Professor of the Computer Science and Engineering Division of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department of the University of Michigan.
John Laird received a BS in Communication and Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1983. His Ph.D. thesis advisor was Allen Newell. Laird was a researcher at Xerox PARC in the Intelligent Systems Laboratory from 1984 to 1986; in 1986 he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan.
Laird has continued to do research on architectures of the mind and to develop and evolve the Soar architecture since his time at CMU. He organizes the annual Soar workshop and participates in the international Soar Research Group. In 1998 he co-founded Soar Technology, a company that specializes in creating autonomous AI entities based on Soar; he currently serves on its board of directors. His particular research interests are cognitive architecture, problem solving, learning, reinforcement learning, episodic memory, semantic memory, and emotion-inspired processing. He is a Fellow of ACM, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the Cognitive Science Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).