R. Michael Young, Professor

Department of Computer Science

North Carolina State University

Building a science of narrative: Computational contributions to the study of stories and their telling

Tuesday, October 29, 4:00 PM

Lewis Lab room 316

Abstract: In his 1962 book Sciences of the Artificial, Allen Newell set out the idea that the then newly emerging disciplines around computers and their applications were themselves sciences. These disciplines (e.g. computer science, artificial intelligence) studied artificial phenomena in much the same way that physical sciences study phenomena in the natural world. In this talk, I'll describe a long-term research effort in my group to develop a comparable science of narrative using Newell's base ideas and borrowing heavily from work at the intersection of AI, narrative theory, cognitive psychology, linguistics, cinema and other contexts. The work seeks to build models of narrative structure that includes both models of story and the discourse used to tell it. The resulting models can then be used in a generative fashion to create experiences within video games that are understandable and/or playable as narratives.

Bio: R. Michael Young is a professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, where he leads the Liquid Narrative Research Group. He's the founder and co-director of the NCSU Digital Games Research Center. His work focuses on the computational modeling of interactive narrative, especially in the context of computer games and virtual worlds. He teaches courses on game design and development and interactive narrative. In 2000, Michael received a CAREER Award from the US National Science Foundation. He has received awards from NCSU for both outstanding teaching and outstanding activities in engagement/economic development. Michael was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Game Development from 2007 to 2008. He serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting, the IEEE journal Transaction on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games and the ACM journal Transactions on Interactive Intelligence Systems. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal Advances in Cognitive Systems. He is a senior member of both AAAI and IEEE. He received his Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998 and a Masters Degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University in 1988. He received a BS in Computer Science from the California State University at Sacramento in 1984 and an Associate of Arts degree from Hartnell College in 1981.

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