Charles Isbell

Georgia tech


In recent years, there has been a growing interest in constructing rich interactive entertainment and training experiences. As these experiences have grown in complexity, there has been a corresponding growing need for the development of robust technologies to shape and modify those experiences in reaction to the actions of human participants.


When thinking about how machine learning and artificial intelligence could help, one notes that the traditional goal of AI games---to win the game---is not particularly useful; rather, the goal is to make the human player's play experience better while being consistent with the goals of the author.


In this talk, I will present our technical efforts to achieve this goal by using machine learning as a way to allow designers to specify problems in broad strokes while allowing a machine do further fine-tuning. In particular, I discuss (1) Targeted Trajectory Distribution Markov Decision Processes (TTD-MDPs), an extension of MDPs that provide variety of experience during repeated execution and (2) computational influence, an automated way of operationalizing theories of influence and persuasion from social psychology to help guide players without decreasing their feelings of autonomy. I also describe our evaluation of these techniques with both simulations and an interactive storytelling system with human subjects.



Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr. received his BS in computer science in 1990 from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD in 1998 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After four years at AT&T Labs, he returned to Georgia Tech as faculty at the College of Computing. Charles' research interests are varied, but recently he has been building autonomous agents that engage in life-long learning in the presence of thousands of other intelligent agents, including humans. His work has been featured in the popular media, including The New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as in technical collections, where he has won two best paper awards in this area. Charles also pursues reform in CS education. He was a developer of Threads, Georgia Tech’s new structuring principle for computing curricula. Recently, he has become the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Computing.


B17 Upson Hall

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Refreshments at 3:45pm in the Upson 4th Floor Atrium


Computer Science


Fall 2010

Adaptive Drama Management:

Bringing Machine Learning to Interactive Entertainment