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Senior Research Officer (Monte Carlo Tree Search)

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  • Lucas, Simon M
    Senior Research Officer Monte Carlo Tree Search - Application to Video Games and Real-Time Control (Ref.RE134) Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2010


      Senior Research Officer

      Monte Carlo Tree Search – Application to Video Games and Real-Time Control



      Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and the development of the multi-billion dollar video games industry have gone hand in hand for many years. Video games are by far the most prevalent way that the public encounter AI techniques on a day to day basis, and the desire for better video games has driven AI research in areas such as move/path planning, decision making, non-player character (NPC) behaviour and the automated generation of game content. A recent development of Monte Carlo methods called the Upper Confidence Bounds for Trees (UCT) method promises to have a profound impact on AI for games. Applications of Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) are not limited to games and have potential benefits for almost any domain where simulation and statistical modelling can be used to forecast outcomes, such as planning, decision support, economic modelling, behavioural analysis, and so on.


      The proposed research will develop and evaluate novel extensions of MCTS to increase its applicability to a broad range of game-related domains including, with the Essex part of the project focussing on its use for move planning and decision making in infinite, continuous real-time environments such as video games.  In particular, the project will explore the following topics within the wider context of MCTS: approximate modelling, real-time MCTS, multi-objective MCTS, learning within MCTS, and overall optimisation of MCTS agents.

      We have received substantial funding from EPSRC to investigate the full potential of Monte Carlo Tree Search, in collaboration between the University of Essex, Imperial College London, the University of Bradford, AI Factory Ltd., Introversion Software Ltd. and Nestorgames Ltd.

      For more details see here: http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/ViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/H048588/1

      The Post:  will work closely with Professor Simon M. Lucas and the Game Intelligence Group at the University of Essex, and also with the other project partners.  The appointee will be expected to design algorithms, write software, conduct experiments, present their work to other consortium members and at international scientific conferences, and write high-quality journal and conference papers.

      A First class or 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in a scientific discipline with substantial experience of computer programming and discrete mathematics is essential for this post.  A PhD in computer science / artificial intelligence is also expected.


      Excellent English language skills are required and candidates whose first language is not English need to have IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.  An established or developing track record of research and publications is necessary.


      Good technical programming skills are required, preferably in a number of languages such as Java, C#, C++, Python etc.  Candidates should have a sound knowledge of artificial intelligence, discrete mathematics and the design of algorithms and data structures.  The ability to write GPU programs is and an enthusiasm for games is also desirable.


      This post is fixed-term for 3 years to commence from 1 October or as soon after by agreement

      The University and Location:  The University of Essex is one of the leading research-oriented universities in the UK, consistently finishing in the top ten UK universities in the league tables for research.  The studentship is based at the University’s Colchester Campus set in Wivenhoe Park, occupying 200 acres of Constable Country.  Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town, and has excellent transport links with London just 50 minutes away by train, and Stansted airport offering a multitude of low-cost flights to Europe and beyond.  Colchester is situated in East Anglia, one of the sunniest parts of the UK.

      Salary: £29,853-£31,671 per annum                     Closing Date:  16 August 2010

      Apply online.  If you have a disability and would like information in a different format telephone (01206) 873521/874588.





      Best wishes,


        Simon Lucas





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