CSC News

March 18, 2005

Conference Aims to Bring AI Researchers, Game Developers Together

AIIDE logoThe success of a computer game is coming to depend “more and more on the science and technology of the artificial intelligence (AI) that goes into it, rather than the graphic elements alone," says Michael Young, assistant professor of computer science at North Carolina State University's Department of Computer Science.

“These games present compelling real-world problems for both industry developers and AI researchers. The work happening at this intersection is simply amazing,” he says.

That ‘intersection’ is the focus of the first Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) conference, to be held June 1-3, 2005, in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Young, who also is co-director of the Center for Digital Entertainment at NC State, is chair of the AIIDE 2005 conference.

AIIDE 2005 will showcase research and development advances relevant to this rapidly evolving industry. "It is intended to be the definitive point of interaction between entertainment software developers interested in AI and academic and industrial AI researchers," he says. "Toward that end, we are offering a fantastic lineup of invited speakers.”

That lineup includes the following AI leaders in industry and academia:

  • Doug Church, developer of the games System Shock & Deus Ex
  • Chris Crawford, author of classic books on game design and originator of the idea of interactive drama.
  • Bing Gordon, executive vice president and chief creative officer of Electronic Arts. Bing is the conference’s featured speaker, presenting his vision of the impact of AI on the future of computer games.
  • Damian Isla of Bungie Studios, who will discuss the AI used in the blockbuster hit, Halo 2
  • Craig Reynolds of Sony, discussing the use of Sony’s next generation Playstation Cell processors to simulate large crowds in games
  • Jonathon Schaeffer, AI game researcher and developer of the world champion checkers program
  • Will Wright, visionary game developer and creator of the Sims from Maxis

In addition to the invited speakers, the conference includes a full program of peer-reviewed papers from academics and game developers. During the conference, authors of the papers will present their results on a range of exciting topics, including:

  • the use of machine learning to create games that adapt and extend their own capabilities
  • the creation of game characters that can communicate with the player through speech and natural language
  • intelligent techniques for creating Hollywood-style camera control in games
  • the use of AI to create interactive stories where the player is part of an ongoing drama.

The conference will also include demonstration sessions where researchers and industry developers will showcase implementations of their work and an exhibit floor where game AI middleware companies, publishers and other industry participants will display their products and services.

Sponsored by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), the AIIDE conference aims to bring together members of both the research and commercial communities who are interested in promoting AI research and practice in the context of interactive digital entertainment systems, with an emphasis on commercial computer and video games, Young says.

The idea for the conference grew from a series of symposia organized by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) on AI and Interactive Entertainment.

"The organizers and participants from these symposia saw the need to extend the community to a larger and more mature venue," he says. "The principal motivating factor behind the conference is that the two communities – academic AI researchers and game AI developers – can benefit from sharing techniques, problems and environments."

John Laird, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, is the conference’s program chair. Mike van Lent, from the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, is the local arrangements chair as well as the exhibits and demonstrations chair. Ian Davis of Mad Doc Software is the publicity chair.

Accepted papers, speaker details and other conference information are available online at

Media Note:
Michael Young, assistant professor of computer science and co-director of NC State's Center for Digital Entertainment, is available to talk with reporters about this conference as well as the relationship between AI research and game AI, the future of game AI research, and related topics. His contact information follows:

Phone: 919-513-3038
Fax: 919-513-4357
Web Site:

Conference web sites:

- by Michael Young

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