Georgios N. Yannakakis, PhD

University of Malta, Professor at the Institute of Digital Games (Malta), Co-founder and Research Director

Video Games: The Ultimate Launchpad for Automation and Control


Ever since the birth of the idea of artificial intelligence (AI), games have been helping AI research to advance. Video games not only pose interesting and complex problems for AI to solve, they also offer an important domain for control and automation. This rare domain where science meets art and interaction offers unique properties for the study of AI, control and optimization and is the key driver of technical progress and AI breakthroughs including deep learning and artificial general intelligence. It is not only AI that advances through games, however; AI has been helping games to advance across several fronts: in the way we play them, in the way we understand their inner functionalities, in the way we design them, and in the way we understand play, interaction and creativity. As games get increasingly richer and more complex through generative AI processes, AI advances further and in turn, it advances the environments it is trained in a continuous virtuous cycle. Video games are arguably the most important domain to develop AI for, while AI is arguably the most important technological leap forward for games.

Biography of the speaker

Georgios N. Yannakakis is a Professor at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta (UM), and a co-founder and research director of (Malta). He is a leading expert of the game artificial intelligence research field with core contributions in machine learning, evolutionary computation, affective computing and player modelling, computational creativity and procedural content generation. He has published over 350 journal and conference papers in the aforementioned fields and his work has received several awards from top-tier academic conferences and journals. His research has been supported by numerous European grants and has appeared in Science Magazine and the New Scientist among other venues. Georgios has been involved in a number of journal editorial boards and he is currently the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Games and an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation. He is the co-author of the Artificial Intelligence and Games textbook and the co-organiser of the Artificial Intelligence and Games summer school series. Georgios is an IEEE Fellow.