Risto Miikkulainen

UT professor puts computer game research in context of “Pixels”

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A computer science professor at the University of Texas at Austin stopped by KXAN to talk about his research on computer gaming and the human brain. Dr. Risto Miikkulainen is studying the brain to figure out how it works and translate that knowledge to making better computer games.

Computer Scientists Find Mass Extinctions Can Accelerate Evolution

A computer science team at The University of Texas at Austin has found that robots evolve more quickly and efficiently after a virtual mass extinction modeled after real-life disasters such as the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Beyond its implications for artificial intelligence, the research supports the idea that mass extinctions actually speed up evolution by unleashing new creativity in adaptations.

Risto Miikkulainen and Jacob Schrum Win Best Paper Award

Jacob Schrum and Risto Miikkulainen won the Best Paper Award in the Digital Entertainment and Arts track at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO). 2015 Conference for their paper on "Solving Interleaved and Blended Sequential Decision-Making Problems through Modular Neuroevolution." 

UTCS Alum Awarded NSF EAPSI 2013 Fellowship

UTCS alum Paul Taele has been awarded a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (NSF EAPSI) fellowship for 2013. Paul will be carrying out research that focuses on enhancing creative computing tools for promoting better design thinking using sketch recognition techniques with Dr. Richard C. Davis at Singapore Management University in Singapore.

The UT^2 Game Bot Judged More Human Than Humans

The UT^2 game bot, created by Jacob Schrum, Igor Karpov, and Professor Risto Miikkulainen, won the Humanlike Bot Competition at the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI 2012). The UT^2 bot is the first winning bot in the history of the Humanlike Bot Competition to be judged as human more often than half the human players participating in the evaluation.

One Way to Study the Schizophrenic Brain: Build One

Researchers at Yale and the University of Texas used a neural network -- a computer brain -- to test out medical theories of what causes schizophrenia. The result was a computer brain that can't tell the difference between stories about itself and fanciful stories about gangsters, and claims responsibility for terrorist acts.

Researchers at U. of Texas and Yale Use Computers to Simulate Schizophrenia

Computer simulations of malfunctioning brains may be the key to understanding schizophrenia and other conditions. A research team including computer scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and a professor of psychiatry at Yale have been testing various theories of how schizophrenic brains misfire as they process information. People with schizophrenia often have trouble repeating different stories, for instance, frequently combining elements of separate stories and inserting themselves into the narrative.

Computer claims responsibility for terrorist bombing

In a bid to help understand the way that the human brain malfunctions to cause mental illness scientists have caused a computer system to lose its mind and claim responsibilty for a terrorist bombing. The team at the University of Texas and Yale University, including Professor Risto Miikkulainen and grad student Uli Grasemann, were looking to how the human brain is affected with schizophrenia by simulating a hypothesis that excessive dopamine in the brain can cause “exaggerated salience”, whereby the brain is learning from things it shouldn’t.


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