R.  Michael Young is a  Professor of Computer Science at  North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.  He is founder and executive director of the NC State Digital Games Research Initiative and directs the Liquid Narrative research group.  Together with a large group of students and post-doctoral fellows, he works to develop  computational models of interactive narrative with applications to computer games, educational and training systems and virtual environments.  His work is grounded in computational approaches, but seeks to cross disciplinary boundaries, involving collaborators and concepts from cognitive psychology, linguistics, narrative theory, cinematography and other disciplines where human cognition and interaction are central.  He is also involved in a number of inter-disciplinary activities and committees at the Department, College and the University Level.

Michael has published more than 80 papers in the leading conferences  and journals in computer games, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, autonomous agents and intelligent user interfaces.  He has served to co-found and build several of the leading conferences in the area of computer games research and has served as program committee member or program or conference chair of more than 50 leading conferences across the areas of artificial intelligence, virtual worlds and computer games. He serves as vice-president and is a founding board member of the Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games and is actively working with ACM in the creation a special interest group in the area of computer games research.  Moreover, he has served as editor-in-chief or as a member of the editorial board of the leading journals in the area of games research. He has won a number awards including an NSF Career Award and an IBM Faculty Award.  He is the only personin the history of NC State to recieve all three university-level awards for outstanding faculty (teaching, extension and engagement and research).  He was a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellow in Public Policy and Public Engagement in 2010 and his work with North Carolina games companies and state policy makers to strengthen the state’s games ecosystem has been widely recognized.

Young has supervised 22 M.S. and Ph.D. students since joining NC State University in 1999. His research group is internationally known as a leading center for work on games research, especially in the area of interactive storytelling and AI in games.  His group has developed algorithms that address issues in cinematic 3D camera control in virtual worlds, the automatic construction of coherent, rich and understandable story lines, cloud-based architectures for the intelligent control of game environments and models of adaptation of story lines in interactive narrative contexts.  His students have continued their research past graduation both as tenure-track faculty at leading universities and as senior scientists at companies in the games industry.  His group has actively collaborated with many industrial and governmental organizations including Epic Games, Virtual Heroes, Microsoft, The Triangle Games Initiative and the DOD Advanced Distributed Learning initiative.  He developed and directs the department’s undergraduate concentration in game development which was rated in the top 20 game programs in North America in 2010 and 2011 by the Princeton Review.

Young’s research is currently supported by NSF, ARO and several industrial partners, and he has served as a PI or Co-PI on more than 15 grants.

Research Areas

  • Advanced Learning Technologies
  • Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents
  • Cloud Computing
  • Computer and Video Games
  • Graphics, Human Computer Interaction, & User Experience
  • Health Care Information Technology


University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems, December, 1997


Stanford University, Stanford, CA
M.S. in Computer Science, December 1987
Concentration in Symbolic Systems


California State University, Sacramento
B.S. in Computer Science, June 1984



  • NC State Faculty Scholar - 2014
  • Senior Member, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) - 2013
  • ACM Distinguished Scientist - 2013
  • NC State Libraries Faculty Award Winner - 2012
  • Named GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Faculty Fellow by the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) - 2009
  • Named Research Director for Triangle Game Initiative - 2009
  • NC State Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension - 2009
  • NC State Outstanding Extension Service Award - 2009
  • IBM Faculty Award - 2007
  • NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers inductee - 2005
  • National Science Foundation Faculty Early CAREER Award - 2001


Link to Michael's publications.