He was a member of the first Spanish team at an International Mathematical Olympiad (Paris, 1983).
He received a BS in Physics from UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia / Spanish University for Distance Education) in 1986 and a M.S. in Theoretical Physics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (see Dept. of Theoretical Physics) in 1986.
In 1992 he was a visiting scholar for three months at the Computer Science Department of UCLA, invited by Prof. Judea Pearl, who later received the Turing Award, equivalent to the Nobel Prize in Computation.
He got his PhD in July 1994 at the
Dept. of Computer Science and Automatics of UNED,
with a thesis on artificial intelligence entitled A Bayesian
Expert System for Echocardiography,
under the supervision of Prof.
José Mira. This thesis received the
Fundesco Prize for Doctoral Dissertations,
which was publicly delivered by the
Spanish Minister for Education and Science on June 27, 1995.
He was Principal Investigator (PI) in the two phases of the Elvira project; in the project Diagnostic Systems Based on Graphical Decision-Theoretic Methods, a join collaboration of the USA, Poland and Spain, which focused on the study of liver diseases; in the project Decision Analysis Networks, in which his group built a decision support system for cataract surgery; and in the DyNaMo project, a joint collaboration of Mexico, France, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Canada, Portugal and Spain. In this project, the group at UNED built a Markov model for analysing the cost-effectiveness of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
In 2013 he spent three months at the Centre for Health Economics of the University of York invited by Prof. Mark Sculpher.
He is the director of the Research Centre for Intelligent Decision-Support Systems (CISIAD) since 2004 and Subdirector (Vice-Dean) of Research at the Computer Science School since 2015.
He has supervised several doctoral theses, published books and papers in journals and conferences and taught seminars at universities in several countries, including UCLA, Harvard and the MIT.
After his youngest son was born with profound deafness, a significant part of his research has focused on cochlear implants (CIs). He has been PI in two European projects, OptiFox (2010-2012) and HearingMinds
(2013-2017), whose objective was to optimise the programming of CIs with artificial intelligence techniques. In 2013 his group performed a cost-effectiveness analysis of bilateral CI in Spain, co-financed by the Health Research Fund of the Spanish Government and MED-EL, which was published in Laryngoscope. In 2014 he wrote a plea about CIs that the associations Oír es Clave and t-oigo
submitted to the Ministry of Health. The main request was the coverage of bilateral CI in the public health system, a petition that other associations, such as FIAPAS and AICE, had been demanding for years. In July 2015 the Ministry issued a law that includes in the Cartera de Servicios Sanitarios (Health Services Portfolio) "bilateral [cochlear] implantation after individualised assessment for both children and adults". To our knowledge, Spain is thus the first country whose legislation prescribes universal coverage of bilateral CI—in spite of which most adults and some children still have difficulties to get a second implant.
In his postgraduate teaching activity he was coordinator of the Master in Advanced Artificial Intelligence, in which he still teaches the subject Probabilistic Methods; this master made part of the Doctoral Programme on Artificial Intelligence and Computer Systems, which was awarded the Mention of Excellence. He was coordinator at UNED of the Doctoral Programme on Probabilistic Models for Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining, which receive the Mention of Quality. He is the director of the Modular Programme on Tools for Health Research and Management, which has trained more than 1,000 health professionals in the last 20 years. He is responsible for the subjects Decision analysis in Medicine at the Master in Medical Physics and Decision Analysis for Engineering and Management at the Master in Computer Science. He was also a teacher at the Master in Evaluation and Access to the Pharmaceutical Market at Carlos III University.
On September 14, 1996, he married María del Carmen
Navarro. They have four children: Nuria, born on December 6 1997,
Inés (Agnes), born on August 8, 2000, Miguel (Michael), born
on July 23, 2004, and Juan Andrés (John Andrew), born on October 1, 2009.