Kuipers graduated from Swarthmore College in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.
He then did two years of alternate service as a conscientious objector to military service, working in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. He began his doctoral studies in pure mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He soon discovered the field of Artificial Intelligence, and spent most of his time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where his advisor was Marvin Minsky.
He spent a post-doctoral year as a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division for Study and Research in Education, funded by a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency grant to support collaborative research with Bolt, Beranek and Newman Technologies psychologist Albert Stevens.
Prior to his professorship at the University of Michigan, he was the Computer Science Department Chair at the University of Texas, Austin. Kuipers is an elected fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Kuipers is also well known for his personal stance against accepting military funding for his research.
As he explains in his essay, "Why don"t I take military funding?", during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded post-doctoral year he discovered that the primary interest in his early work on cognitive maps came from military agencies with the goal of building intelligent cruise missiles. As explained in his essay, he felt that he did not want his life"s work to contribute to war.
Fellow Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Association for Artificial Intelligence (executive county), Society for Values in Higher Education. Member American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa.
Married Laura Lein, June 28, 1975. Children: Anna, Rebecca, David.