Her research area is artificial intelligence and computational logic, as she works in automated reasoning, including theorem proving, model building, decision procedures for satisfiability, reasoning for the analysis, verification, and synthesis of systems, strategy analysis, distributed deduction, and rewriting. Her research was funded by the NSF, the EU Commission, and the Italian Ministry for University and Research. She gave over one hundred and twenty talks or lectures, authored over seventy-five peer-reviewed papers, and edited two books and four journal issues.
Maria Paola visited virtually the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing of UC Berkeley in Spring 2021 and she is on sabbatical at the Computer Science Laboratory of SRI International in 2021/22, where she spent her previous sabbatical year. She was Visiting Professor or Visiting Research Scholar at the Isaac Newton Institute of the University of Cambridge, the University of Manchester, Microsoft Research Redmond, and TU Dresden. She was invited to visit several research sites, including LORIA Nancy, Universität Koblenz-Landau, MPI Saarbrücken, Tel Aviv University, King's College, EPFL, ETHZ, Chalmers University of Technology, and Université Paris XI Orsay, in Europe; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Oregon, Argonne National Laboratory, Stanford University, Iowa State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Idaho, and CUNY Graduate College, in America; the Chinese Academy of Sciences, East China Normal University, Tsinghua University, and National Taiwan University, in Asia.
She organizes the 2021 and 2023 seminars on automated deduction at Schloss Dagstuhl, and she chaired the Skolem Award Committee 2021. She was invited speaker at PPDP (Principles and Practice of Declarative Programming), FroCoS (Frontiers of Combining Systems), and TABLEAUX (Automated Reasoning by Analytic Tableaux and Related Methods), among other events. She serves regularly on the Program Committee of IJCAR (International Joint Conference on Automated Reasoning), CADE (Conference on Automated Deduction), and several other conferences. She served as Program Chair of CADE in 2013. She was elected thrice to the Board of Trustees of CADE Inc., and twice President of the Board. As President of CADE Inc. she chaired the committee that assigns the Herbrand Award, one of the most prestigious in Computer Science, and she instituted the CADE Best Paper Award and the Skolem Award for papers that pass the test of time. She also served on the board of Directors of the Association for Automated Reasoning.
Maria Paola Bonacina