The School of Informatics at the University of Bradford, UK has announced that if will offer a new Masters of Science Degree in Artificial Intelligence for Games for entry in September 2007.
Students on the course will learn about the techniques needed to create artificial game playing agents and non-player characters. The focused nature of the course will mean that students will learn highly advanced techniques in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and apply this knowledge in a "hands-on" environment by creating a range of game playing agents for a wide variety of games.
Artificial Intelligence is widely regarded in the computer games industry as the area where the largest strides in gameplay will be made in the coming decades, and students of this course will be at the forefront of this advance. Game theory is very important in industry (particularly in finance and economics) and students will also consider games and models from those domains. As well as equipping students for a career in the rapidly-growing computer games industry, good graduates will be prepared for jobs which apply AI techniques to business planning and engineering problems, and for further AI research through to PhD.
During the course students will create a large portfolio of AI agents to take forward on graduation. The games considered will range from traditional games, such as chess and go, through to complex first-person and real-time strategy games. A range of competitions will be run throughout the module to compare the effectiveness of student AI.
As well as techniques well established in the computer games industry, such as pathfinding and state machine architectures, the course will cover advanced topics such as neural networks, machine learning and genetic algorithms, where Bradford has an international reputation for research, but which are only just starting to be used in the games industry.
In order to provide careers information and to inform students of the techniques currently in use in the games industry, industrial speakers will present their insight to students of the course. The degree will culminate with a major project where students will build one or more AI players for a game of their choice.
For more information, interested parties can visit the University of Bradford website