Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Date: 08 September 2014, 9:00am
Professor Brian Cantor CBE
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Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Bradford

Date: 08 September 2014, 9:30am
Professor Peter Cowling
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Professor of Computer Science
York Centre for Complex System Analysis
University of York

Title: Computational Intelligence Research for Impact in the Games Industry

Abstract: Digital Games are a huge international industry, with revenues of £3 billion in the UK and over $70 billion worldwide, far exceeding that of film, music and DVD. Games have been an important testbed for AI/CI research for decades, since pioneering work by Turing and Shannon. Computational Intelligence is an important component of many (arguably most) commercial digital games. Games provide a superb testbed for CI research, and one whose potential we are only just starting to understand. In this talk we will present significant research advances our team has made in Monte Carlo Tree Search, and discuss how these were used by a commercial games company (AI Factory Ltd.) resulting in our research advances being used by 2.5 million game players worldwide in a chart-topping mobile phone game. We will describe how our Monte Carlo Tree Search approaches, tailored for "strong" gameplay, needed to be recast to yield "fun" gameplay as needed by the commercial market. Furthermore, widespread play against our CI produced a deluge of data. Subsequently, we analysed this data to understand how human players react to different CI playing styles - providing new metrics for our CI which would not have been possible without massive amounts of gameplay data from human players. We will round out the talk by discussing other examples where digital games have been used to do science, and by speculating as to the future of games as a tool for research in CI and other fields.

Biography:Peter Cowling wrote his first game playing Articial/Computational Intelligence (AI), for the board game Othello, at about 9 years of age, on a Commodore PET computer with a mighty 8 kilobytes of RAM (about one tenth of one percent of the size of a single decent digital photograph nowadays :). He was quickly hooked and has created many games and AI for games as a way to test out research ideas in AI during his research career [1], as well as inventing hyperheuristics [2] and extensive work in Operational Research (see e.g. [3]) with organisations such as AI Systems BV, Gaist Solutions Ltd, Trimble MRM and the Nationwide Building Society. Now, with the rise and rise of the games industry, games is an economically and socially important area of research and is a principal area of his work. He currently leads the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI - and the EPSRC/ESRC New Economic Models and Opportunities for Digital Games (NEMOG) projects (, as well as collaborative projects in optimisation and decision-making.
[1] Edward J. Powley, Peter I. Cowling, Daniel Whitehouse (2014) "Information capture and reuse strategies in Monte Carlo Tree Search, with applications to games of hidden information", Artificial Intelligence, to appear. DOI:10.1016/j.artint.2014.08.002.
[2] P. Cowling, G. Kendall, E. Soubeiga (2001) "A Hyperheuristic Approach to Scheduling a Sales Summit", in selected papers from 3rd International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling (PATAT), Konstanz, Germany, Springer LNCS 2079, 176-190.
[3] S.M. Remde, P.I. Cowling, K.P. Dahal, N.J. Colledge, E. Selensky (2011) "An empirical study of hyperheuristics for managing very large sets of low level heuristics", Journal of the Operational Research Society, 63 (3): 392-405.

Date: 9 September 2014, 9:00am
Mark Barrett
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Open Data Lead for Leeds

Title: Deriving the most value out of local data

Abstract: is the central respository for Open Data in the UK and holds nearly 20,000 datasets. Of these 20,000 only 3% come from local councils and are classified as "Open". With such a disparity between nationally available data and locally available data, there is a lot of work needed to close the gap. Significant amounts of data are held behind closed doors, but could be made "Open". This provides opportunities for cities to release data, from across sectors, so that citizens can understand their cities in new exciting ways. Over the last 9 months we have worked to release increasing amounts of data, engage with citizens and create a new economy in the city. This talk will give highlight the work that's been carried out.

Biography: Mark Barrett is an Open Data Lead for Leeds. He created Leeds Data Mill - the Open Data platform for the city that holds public sector, private sector, and third sector data so create a rich picture of Leeds. Mark co-founded Leeds Data Thing, and created the 1st Open Data app to reach #1 in iTunes - GP Ratings and was selected as one of the top 50 innovators in healthcare by the Health Service Journal in 2013. Marks passion is for local level data - helping people to understand their environment and improve their surroundings.

Date: 10 September 2014
Professor Anthony Cohn
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Director of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Biological Systems
University of Leeds

Title: Learning about Activities and Objects from Video

Abstract: In this talk I will present ongoing work at Leeds on building models of video activity. I will present techniques, both supervised and unsupervised, for learning the spatio-temporal structure of tasks and events from video or other sensor data, particularly in the case of scenarios with concurrent activities. In both cases, the representation will exploit qualititive spatio-temporal relations. A novel method for robustly transforming video data to qualitative relations will be presented. I will also show how objects can be "functionally categorised" according to their spatio-temporal behaviour.

Biography: Tony Cohn holds a Personal Chair at the University of Leeds, where he is Professor of Automated Reasoning. He is presently Director of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Biological Systems. His work on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning has a particular focus on qualitative spatial/spatio-temporal reasoning, the best known being the well cited Region Connection Calculus (RCC). His current research interests range from theoretical work on spatial calculi and spatial ontologies, to cognitive vision, modelling spatial information in the hippocampus, and detecting buried underground assets (e.g. utilities and archaeological residues) using a variety of geo-located sensors. He has been Chairman/President of SSAISB, ECCAI, KR inc, the IJCAI Board of Trustees and is presently Editor-in-Chief of the AAAI Press, Spatial Cognition and Computation, and the Artificial Intelligence journal. He was elected a founding Fellow of ECCAI, and is also a Fellow of AAAI, AISB, the BCS, and the IET. Work from the Cogvis project won the British Computer Society Machine Intelligence prize in 2004, and the VAULT system from his Mapping the Underworld project won a 2012 IET Innovation Award.