In the course of his career, Luke has done work in many fields in the interests of education, science, art, and social justice.
He attended Hampshire College, where he did an independent concentration in cognitive science, computer science, education, and music. While there, he took an active interest in Dewey's philosophy with the idea that seeking out fundamental truths about mind and nature was a proper part of an education and a way of life.
Luke began his career as a lead developer on the PLATO project, a research program spanning over two decades run jointly by the Computer-Based Education Research Lab (CERL) at the University of Illinois and Control Data Corporation. Created years before the internet, PLATO was a fully-realized vision of the future, supplying the origins of modern social networking, online publishing, multiplayer interactive gaming, and computer-based education.
While working on the PLATO project, Luke designed and developed an ambitious authoring system for intelligent computer-assisted instruction based in partial-order plans known as the Procedure Logic Simulator, along with several applications. Luke was also the author of Macmillan's “SERIES r” Instructional Management System for Macmillan's basal reading program, used by millions of students nationwide.
After graduating from Hampshire College, Luke joined the research faculty at York College/CUNY to design new systems for computer-assisted instruction across the curriculum. There he developed the Dialog language, one of the first multi-agent programming languages, intended as a new programming paradigm for use in intelligent computer-assisted instruction, simulations, role-playing games, and social dynamics experiments.
Luke subsequently enrolled in a doctoral program at Cornell in philosophy of education, but quickly diversified and sought instruction both formally and informally in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science from philosophers Sydney Shoemaker and Richard Boyd. Since then, Luke has concerned himself with primary research in the naturalistic theory of mind and nature known as teleological functionalism, based in biological philosophy and evolutionary theory, and characterized by a continuity between philosophy and the sciences. His research focuses on the purpose of mind in nature and the relationship between agency, mind, and commitment as examined from a teleological perspective, with a special interest in social agency, social function, and the group-mind hypothesis.
Luke continued this research under two lab fellowships as a Research Associate at The Center For Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers/UMDNJ, working in the Arnold Lab alongside AIDS researchers whose crystallographic studies supplied the basis for the development of modern HIV inhibitors. Here and at Monogram Biosciences he also applied techniques in artificial intelligence, including genetic algorithms and neural networks. As a researcher at Merrill Lynch, Luke applied his work to the re-engineering of enterprise processes, and served as a liaison to academic computer scientists studying multi-agent systems around the world.
Luke was the founder and creative director of the well-known jazz label Smalls Records. He documented several of the neglected African-American jazz masters who emerged from the underground after the overturning of the racist cabaret laws. Luke is also a professional photographer specializing in artist portraits and performance images. He has worked for the Cornell Department of Theater, Film, and Dance, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines.
Luke views the world of inquiry and education as a seamless fabric, and believes that the key to interdisciplinary inquiry lies in knowledge of method and synthesis. Luke believes that EdLab, with its interdisciplinary scope, bright and multi-talented constituents, and focus on issues of global significance, represents significant hope for the future of education.