AI and Games: The Remarkable Case of Malta

Authors: Georgios N. Yannakakis

Corresponding: Georgios N. Yannakakis (georgios.yannakakis@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Games, Malta

Doi: none

Abstract:
We currently witness a technological revolution that is attributed primarily to artificial intelligence (AI) advancements. Even before this AI Spring, however, the plethora of machine learning, search and optimization breakthroughs have been made possible through the direct applications of AI algorithms in digital games. As AI advances, games also advance since AI can continuously test, improve, design and complexify the environments it is engaged in. This symbiotic relationship between AI and games is currently shaping the research frontier of AI and boosts the innovation potential of games across multiple domains.

This short paper has a dual purpose and corresponding parts. Throughout the first general part of the paper, I survey briefly the current state of the art in the AI and games field. Then I outline the critical role of games in AI research, the importance of AI for game development, and the impact their relationship has on current and future scientific breakthroughs. In the second specific part of this paper, I focus on the Institute of Digital Games of the University of Malta as a successful centre of excellence on AI and games research, education, and innovation. Specifically, I provide evidence suggesting that a national focus and targeted investment in AI and video game development has managed to place a small island country like Malta — in just under a decade — among the leading players of AI and games research, education and innovation globally.

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