Summer School Description

The first international summer school on Artificial Intelligence and Games will be held on Crete (Chania), Greece, from May 28 to June 01, 2018.

The summer school is dedicated to the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in and for games. After introductory lectures that explain the background and key techniques in AI and games, the school will introduce participants the uses of AI for playing games, for generating content for games, and for modeling players.

This school is suitable for industrial game developers, designers, programmers and practitioners, but also for graduate students in games, artificial intelligence, design, human-computer interaction, and computational intelligence.

The main lecturers are Georgios N. Yannakakis and Julian Togelius, co-authors of the AI and Games textbook (, the first comprehensive textbook on the use of AI in games. During the first phase of the school theoretical lectures will be complemented by guest lectures on special topics in game AI and by hands-on workshops given by world-leading practitioners from DeepMind, Ubisoft, Yokozuna Data, and other partners. For the second phase of the school, we plan a game AI jam on the taught material.


Communication Partner



Georgios N. Yannakakis

Georgios N. Yannakakis ( is an Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta. He is a leading expert of the game artificial intelligence research field with core theoretical contributions in machine learning, evolutionary computation, affective computing and player modelling, computational creativity and procedural content generation. He has published more than 220 papers and his work has been cited broadly. He has attracted funding from several EU and national research agencies and received multiple awards for published work in top-tier journals and conferences. His work has been featured in New ScientistScience MagazineThe GuardianLe Monde and other venues. He is regularly invited to give keynote talks in the most recognised conferences in his areas of research activity and has organised a few of the most respected conferences in the areas of game AI and game research. He has been an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games and the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing journals; he is currently an Associate editor of the IEEE Transactions in Games. He is the co-author of the Artificial Intelligence and Games Textbook.


Julian Togelius

Julian Togelius ( is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Previously, he was an Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen and among the founders of the procedural content generation research field. Togelius has introduced core procedural generation paradigms and frameworks for game content such as the Experience-driven Procedural Content Generation (EDPCG) framework and the Search-based Procedural Content Generation (SBPCG) paradigm which define two of the leading research trends within procedural content generation. EDPCG couples player experience modelling and procedural content generation so that game content is generated in a personalised manner for affecting the experience of the player and SBPCG offers a taxonomy for the generation of game content through search. He co-edited the first book on Procedural Content Generation in Games. Togelius' research has appeared in respected international media such as New Scientist, and Le Monde. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Games (launch in January 2018) and the co-author of the AI and Games textbook.

Guest Lecturers


Matteo Hessel

Research Engineer at DeepMind

Matteo Hessel is interested in building general artificial agents, capable of learning to perform a variety of complex tasks at the same level of humans. He believes that the combination of Deep Learning techniques with Reinforcement Learning will be a crucial component in order to achieve this. Past work includes specialized deep learning architectures for Reinforcement Learning (Dueling NetworksPopArt and Prediction), and the combination of multiple algorithmic components in a single powerful integrated agent (Rainbow). He loves teaching.

Dr. África Periáñez

Chief Data Scientist at Silicon Studio
Manager of Yokozuna Data (

Dr. África Periáñez leads a team of data scientists and engineers who develop a state-of-the-art machine learning platform that predicts individual player behavior. She is a senior data scientist and researcher with 12+ years of experience. África holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Reading (UK), a Master of Advanced Studies in String Theory Physics carried out at CERN and an MSc in Theoretical Physics from the Autonomous University of Madrid.
She has worked as a research scientist in renowned institutions such as CERN (under a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship), RIKEN in Japan (working with the world's fourth-fastest K-computer), DWD in Germany (German Weather Service, working in Satellite Data Assimilation) or the University of Reading in the UK. She is the co-author of multiple peer-reviewed articles and has been a speaker in more than 20 international conferences and many regular seminars. She also has significant industry experience at SPSS Inc., IBM and now Silicon Studio.
África has a goal in mind: to democratize Game Data Science (so that it can be used in operational business settings) and push the frontiers of this field to new heights. Using cutting-edge machine-learning and statistical techniques, she aims to obtain a thorough understanding of players’ behavior and to predict accurately their actions in order to contribute to the development of amazing data-driven games.
Her main research interests include ensemble-based methods, deep learning applied to time-series forecasting and Bayesian approaches to predict player reactions.

Dr. Alessandro Canossa

Senior User Researcher and Data Scientist at Massive Entertainment.

Dr. Alessandro Canossa has been straddling between the game industry and academia for many years.

As Associate Professor at Northeastern University he employed psychological theories of personality, motivation and emotion to design interactive scenarios with the purpose of investigating individual differences in behavior among users of digital entertainment. His research focuses heavily on these topics: a) developing behavioral analysis methodologies that are able to account for granular spatial and temporal events, avoiding aggregation; b) design and development of visual analytics tools that can enable any stakeholder to produce advanced statistics, predictions and datamining reports.

As Senior User Researcher and Data Scientist at Massive Entertainment he enjoys tremendously investigating occult behavioral patterns and is happiest when he can triangulate data-driven insights with surveys and lab observations to provide reports for productions teams. At the same time, he is involved with the Live Ops team to improve data culture and devise novel player segmentation approaches. He also established a workgroup to identify the best processes for transferring knowledge from academic research to industry practices and to bring Ubisoft at the cutting edge of the game analytics culture.

Dr. Emily Short

Character Engine Product Manager at Spirit AI.

Dr. Emily Short works in interactive fiction, narrative design, and conversation modeling, and is currently the Character Engine Product Manager at Spirit AI. She has worked with E-Line Media, Eko, Big Fish Games, Telltale Games, ArenaNet, ngmoco :), and Failbetter Games among others, and was the creative director of the Versu project, building interactive iPad stories around AI characters. She has written over two dozen works of interactive fiction and is part of the design team for Inform 7, a tool for creating parser-based IF. Her blog can be found at

Her credits include Galatea, Counterfeit Monkey, Versu, Blood & Laurels, Fallen London, Sunless Seas, Sunless Skies, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.

Additional guest lecturers will be announced soon...

Summer School Draft Program

The draft program below will be finalized at a later date and can be subject to changes.

Morning (Lectures) Introduction to the Summer School
AI for Game Playing
Lunch (Included with Registration)
Afternoon (Hands-on Tutorials) Deep Reinforcement Learning for Game Playing
Matteo Hessel
Evening Welcome Reception
Morning (Lectures) Search-Based and Constructive Procedural Content Generation
Machine Learning-Based and Experience-Driven PCG
Lunch (Included with Registration)
Afternoon (Hands-on Tutorials) From AI-Driven Narrative to Procedural Dialogue
Emily Short Spirit AI
Evening Free Evening
Morning (Lectures) Player Modeling
From Game Analytics to Affective Computing
Lunch (Included with Registration)
Afternoon (Hands-on Tutorials) Player Segmentation and Modeling
Alessandro Canossa
Player Behavior Prediction
Africa Perianez
Evening Social Event
Morning (Lectures) Frontiers of Game AI Research
Lunch (Included with Registration)
Afternoon (Hands-on Tutorials) Game AI Jam
Evening Free Evening
Morning (Lectures) Frontiers of Game AI Research
Game AI Jam
Lunch (Included with Registration)
Afternoon (Hands-on Tutorials) Game AI Jam
Evening Awards and Certificates


Register here
Only limited seats are available.
Early Registration (before January 31)
Student / Indie Developer € 300 (+ € 75 VAT)
University / Research Faculty € 500 (+ € 125 VAT)
Industry Professional € 750 (+ € 187.5 VAT)
Registration (before March 31)
Student / Indie Developer € 375 (+ € 93.75 VAT)
University / Research Faculty € 575 (+ € 143.75 VAT)
Industry Professional € 850 (+ € 212.5 VAT)
Late Registration (after April 1)
Student / Indie Developer € 475 (+ € 118.75 VAT)
University / Research Faculty € 675 (+ € 168.75 VAT)
Industry Professional € 950 (+ € 237.5 VAT)

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(Free passes) for Indie Developers

We are very happy to announce that there are 3 free passes available to 3 indie developers that wish to attend the 1st International Summer School on Artificial Intelligence and Games! If you are an indie developer and you wish to benefit from this opportunity please send us your CV and a short letter of motivation emphasizing on the role of this summer school to the development of your current or future game AI projects. Should you wish to secure a place at the summer school you are welcome to register and then apply for the free pass. If you are selected we will waive your registration.


The summer school will be held at the Samaria Hotel at 1866 Square, Chania, Crete 73 135 Greece.

"This fully renovated 4* property offers a fresh and inviting ambiance of high aesthetics and design. The Samaria is situated on 1866 Square in the heart of Chania. Its advantageous location right in the town's commercial centre places the hotel a stone's throw from the Old Town and the Venetian Harbour, as well as just a few minutes from the main attractions, thus making it an ideal base to explore the scenic Chania Town and the surrounding areas."

/from the Samaria Hotel's website/

Accommodation & Travel

The city of Chania, located on Crete, Greece, is home to a 14th-century Venetian harbour with a picturesque lighthouse, and charming old town.

As a favoured tourist destination, Chania is well connected through air traffic and offers a wide variety of accommodation both for those, who are looking for comfort and those, who travel on a budget. We have negotiated more affordable prices for the conference attendants with our host, the Samaria Hotel, however, there are many other options available from hotels to Airbnb.



The Samaria Hotel will offer a special booking code to all our participants between May 26 to June 4. You will be able to use the booking code: GAMEAI to access special rates for your stay. In order to take advantage of the offer please follow these steps:

  1. To choose from the available room types and proceed with a booking go to
  2. Insert the arrival and departure date and number of occupants and then SEARCH AVAILABILITY.
  3. On the next page, select BOOKING CODE (on the right-hand side, on the top of the page), insert the code: GAMEAI (case sensitive) and select APPLY CODE.

We can also recommend these 4-star hotels:

These 3-star hotels:

And for those who are travelling on a budget, we recommend browsing through Airbnb.



Chania's airport is Chania International Airport (CHQ), which is our recommended arrival option. The next-closest airport is Heraklion (HER), which is 2-3 hours away from the venue by car/bus.

Chania is a major hub of European low-cost airlines. Ryanair is the largest, flying from 27 cities in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the UK. Other low-cost options operating during May and June, including:
easyJet (London), Jetairfly (Brussels), Norwegian (Bergen, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm), and Transavia (Amsterdam).

Those coming from outside Europe will probably find it easiest to connect with a network carrier instead. There are numerous daily flights to Athens and Thessaloniki on Aegean and Olympic, which have codeshare deals with major international airlines. There are also weekend flights to Vienna on Austrian. As always, international itineraries will be much cheaper if they include a Saturday-night stay either before or after the conference.

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