Katja Hofmann

Minecraft as AI Playground and Laboratory

This talk focuses on Project Malmo, an AI experimentation platform that my team built on top of the popular video game Minecraft. I will show how the open-ended nature of Minecraft, which is so appealing to its human fan-base, also makes the game uniquely challenging for current AI agents. I will highlight some of opportunities this creates for driving AI research towards faster learning, complex decision making, and - ultimately - collaboration with human players. Looking out into the future, I will discuss directions for tackling these challenges, from learning with human priors to multi-task learning.

Dr Katja Hofmann is a Senior Researcher at the Machine Intelligence and Perception group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Her research focuses on reinforcement learning with applications in video games, as she believes that games will drive a transformation of how people interact with AI technology. She is the research lead of Project Malmo, which uses the popular game Minecraft as an experimentation platform for developing intelligent technology. Her long-term goal is to develop AI systems that learn to collaborate with people, to empower their users and help solve complex real-world problems.

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