Jon Doyle is a native of Houston, Texas. A tenth-grade high-school dropout, he studied viola, composition, and conducting before entering South Texas Junior College (now University of Houston-Downtown) in November 1971. After transferring to the University of Houston in September 1972, he studied physics and mathematics before receiving his baccalaureate (summa cum laude) in Mathematics in December 1974 as a student of Joseph Schatz.
Doyle worked briefly for Shell Oil Company as a programmer, and in 1975 then 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 (which he now prefers to call reason 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 Sussman as readers.
After graduation, Doyle moved to Stanford University, where he was a Research Associate in Computer Science with John McCarthy. 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 and rational self-government. He moved back to MIT in 1988, where he is a Principal Research Scientist in the Clinical Decision Making group of the Laboratory for Computer Science.
Doyle served as chair of ACM SIGART in 1989-1991, as an invited speaker at AAAI-90, and was elected AAAI Fellow in 1991 and a member of the AAAI Executive Council for the 1996-1999 term. He serves as an associate editor of Computational Intelligence, and the Journal of Logic, Language and Information, as a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and as a director of Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Inc. He also served as an associate editor of ACM Computing Surveys during 1995-1998, as the president of the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning conferences, as associate editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and as the co-organizer of the 1996 ACM/CRA Workshop on Strategic Directions in Computing Research.
Doyle's recent work concerns qualitative decision theory, representation of preference information, economic theories of reasoning, planning, new approaches to reason maintenance, and intelligent agents in the medical domain. He currently manages a efforts providing knowledge-based support for construction and operation of distributed networks of monitoring processes, and which addresses specific tasks in medicine and computer security.