Prof Peter Cowling

Director
Department of Computer Science
University of York

As Director of DC Labs I work with everyone, across all areas, to ensure a research environment that encourages people to work across disciplines and to do world-leading digital creativity research that actually makes a difference to the lives of others (i.e. has high impact).

I am also Director for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) and the advantage of holding both these roles is that I can see the synergies between the projects, for example many DC Labs research staff now supervise IGGI PhD students. You'll see the goals of these projects elsewhere - but for me the joy in them is to work with some of the sparkiest researchers in the world, and to focus their work so as to satisfy the insatiable curiosity that comes from being a sparky researcher, while doing something that is genuinely important to the wider world.

I've been creating Artificial Intelligence for Games, and playing games, since I was a young child, and I am fascinated by the ways we can make decisions in games (and also in other areas such as planning and scheduling). I want to understand how we can build AI so as to make the "best" decision - where "best" is not narrowly interpreted, but can include notions like being "the most fun" or "leading to the stickiest learning".

I also want to use games to understand how people make decisions, and what we can learn about their behaviour by observing what they do in gameplay. My research directions fit very well with being Director of DC Labs and IGGI - decisions are everywhere - and I've really enjoyed working with people from other disciplines and with expertise that complements my own. It is a privilege to work with a great mix of world-leading people working towards the common goal of understanding where research into digital creativity really can take us...