The Reasoning Lab @ NRL

The Reasoning Lab is housed in the Laboratory of Autonomous Systems Research and the Information Technology Division building at NRL headquarters in Washington, DC.

Today’s best interactive AI and robotic systems cannot reason, and so there exists an urgent need to reconcile the differences between human and machine reasoning. The Reasoning Lab at the Naval Research Laboratory seeks to address it. The lab’s primary goal is to understand the mental processes that underlie human thinking well enough to build plausible computer simulations of them. It is situated within the Human and Machine Intelligence Section, where ongoing research focuses on engineering AI systems that can interact with people effectively. Humans reason when they interact with devices and each other, and so genuinely interactive AI systems must accommodate human reasoning.

Join the lab

Our group is always looking to form new collaborations with enthusiastic researchers. If you’d like to join the lab, read more here.

Current members

Dr. Sangeet “Sunny” Khemlani (
Principal investigator

Dr. Laura Kelly (
Postdoctoral researcher (2018 – present)

Dr. Hillary Harner (
Postdoctoral researcher (2019 – present)

Dr. Greg Trafton (
Section Head, Human and Machine Intelligence Section

Affiliated researchers

Dr. Gordon Briggs (
Computer scientist in NRL’s AI Center

Dr. Andrew Lovett (
Computer scientist in NRL’s AI Center

Dr. Ben Wright (
Postdoctoral researcher in NRL’s AI Center

Lab alumni

Neha Bhat
Summer Intern, Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (2019)
Now: Junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Dr. Zach Horne
Postdoctoral researcher (2016-2017)
Now: Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University

Nikhil Khosla
Summer Intern, Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (2017, 2018)
Now: Undergraduate at University of Michigan

Dr. Joanna Korman
Postdoctoral researcher (2016-2018)
Now: Social Cognitive Scientist at MITRE Corporation