Keynote speakers

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  • April 23rd, 2018, by
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Advances in recommendation systems
Prof. Yannis Manolopoulos
Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Bio: Yannis Manolopoulos is Professor with the Department of Informatics of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH). In the past, he has been with the University of Toronto, the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Cyprus. He has also served as Rector of the University of Western Macedonia in Greece, Head of his own department, and Vice-Chair of the Greek Computer Society. He has co-authored 5 monographs published by Kluwer and Springer, 8 textbooks in Greek, as well as ~300 journal and conference papers related to Data Management. He has edited 18 books and conference proceedings. He received >8000 citations from >1200 distinct academic institutions and 2 best paper awards from ACM SIGMOD and ECML/PKDD conferences. He has supervised 21 PhD graduates. He has also served as main co-organizer of several major fora, among others: ADBIS'2002, SSTD'2003, SSDBM'2004, ICEIS'2006, EANN'2007, ICANN'2010, AIAI'2012, WISE'2013, CAISE'2014, conferences. He has acted as evaluator for funding agencies in Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, EU, Hong-Kong, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy and Russia. Currently, he serves in the Editorial Board of The VLDB Journal, The World Wide Web Journal, The Computer Journal, among others.
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Computational Game Creativity: The Killer AI App
Prof. Georgios N. Yannakakis
Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta
Abstract: Can computational processes and machine-crafted artifacts be considered creative? When does this happen and who judges after all? What happens when we create together with a creative machine? Do we merely create together or can a machine truly foster our creativity as human creators? When does such co-creation foster the creativity of both humans and machines?
In this talk I will address the above questions by positioning computer games as the ideal application domain for computational creativity -- and artificial intelligence (AI) at large -- for the unique features they offer. First, games are content-intensive processes with open boundaries for creativity as content for each creative facet comes in different representations, under different sets of constraints and often created in massive amounts. Second, the creation (game) offers a rich interaction with the user (player): a game can be appreciated as an art form or for its creative capacity only when experienced through play. The play experience is highly interactive and engaging, moreso than any other form of art. Thus, autonomous computational game creators should attempt to design new games that can be both useful (playable) and deemed to be creative (or novel) considering that artifacts generated can be experienced and possibly altered. For example, the game narrative, the illumination of a room, or the placement of objects can be altered by a player in a game; this explodes in terms of complexity when the game includes user-generated content or social dynamics in multiplayer games. Finally, games' multifaceted nature is key in my argumentation. The types of creative processes met in computer games include visual art, sound design, graphic design, interaction design, narrative generation, virtual cinematography, aesthetics and environment beautification. The fusion of the numerous and highly diverse creative domains within a single software application makes games the ideal arena for the study of computational (and human) creativity. It is also important to note that each art form (or facet) met in games elicits different experiences to its users; their fusion into the final software targeting the ultimate play experience for a rather large and diverse audience is an additional challenge for AI and computational creativity research.
Computational game creativity is introduced in this talk as the study of computational creativity within and for computer games. Games can be (1) improved as products via computational creations (for) and/or (2) used as the ultimate canvas for the study of computational creativity as a process (within). Computational game creativity is positioned at the intersection of developing fields within games research and long-studied fields within computational creativity and AI such as visual art and narrative. To position computational creativity within games I will identify a number of key creative facets in modern game development and design and discuss their required orchestration for a final successful game product. Computer games not only challenge computational creativity (and AI) and provide a creative sandbox for advancing the field but they also offer an opportunity for computational creativity (and AI) methods to be extensively assessed (via a huge population of gamers) through commercial-standard products of high impact and financial value.

Bio: Georgios N. Yannakakis is Associate Professor at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta (UoM). He received the Ph.D. degree in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh in 2005. Prior to joining the Institute of Digital Games, UoM, in 2012 he was an Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen.
He does research at the crossroads of artificial intelligence, computational creativity, affective computing, advanced game technology, human-computer interaction. He pursues research concepts such as user experience modeling and procedural content generation for the design of personalized interactive systems for entertainment, education, training and health. Georgios N. Yannakakis is one of the leading researchers within player affective modeling and adaptive content generation for games and has pioneered the use of preference learning algorithms to create statistical models of player experience which drive the automatic generation of personalized game content. He has published over 180 journal and conference papers in the aforementioned fields and his work has been cited broadly. His research has been supported by numerous national and European grants and has appeared in Science Magazine and New Scientist among other venues.
He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. He has been the General Chair of key conferences in the area of game artificial intelligence (IEEE CIG 2010) and games research (FDG 2013).
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