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About

Raluca D. Gaina is currently on a 3 month internship at Microsoft Research Cambridge, working on the Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning in Malmo (MARLO) Competition. She is studying for her Ph.D. in Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence at Queen Mary University of London, in the area of rolling horizon evolution in general video game playing, after completing a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Computer Games at the University of Essex. She’s already completed her first year of Ph.D. at the University of Essex (transfer to Queen Mary) with 7 conference papers and a journal publication. Her research interests include general video game playing AI, reinforcement learning and evolutionary computation algorithms.

Find out more of what I get up to on the blog.

Research Topic

Rolling Horizon Evolutionary Algorithm Improvements for General Video Game Playing in Single and Multi-Player Games

Artificial Intelligence is concerned with creating an agent capable of rational thought. When applied to games, the agent must be able to make decisions which would lead to fulfilling its goal (usually winning, possibly against an opponent). As a sub-field, general video game playing aims to design an agent which would achieve high-level play in any given game, thus raising the need to generalize the heuristics used and introduce various machine learning techniques to gather information about the previously unknown game. While Monte Carlo Tree Search has dominated general video game playing, Rolling Horizon Evolutionary Algorithms have the potential to reach an even better performance. The proposed study will focus on improving this algorithm, using mostly the General Video Game AI framework for testing purposes.

So far, various aspects have been explored on several games, such as the impact of the population size and individual length on performance, population seeding techniques and other algorithm structure modifications previously encountered in literature, now tested in a consistent environment and a general setting. A simple macro-action enhancement has also been explored in continuous physics games. On successful completion, the research aims to bring forward better NPCs and new challenging experiences for players, as well as reliable game testing tools.

Publications

2018

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Simon M. Lucas, Diego Perez-Liebana, “General Win Prediction from Agent Experience”, IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, 2018, accepted. (PDF)

  • Chiara F. Sironi, Jialin Liu, Diego Perez-Liebana, Raluca D. Gaina, Ivan Bravi, Simon M. Lucas, Mark H.M. Winands, “Self-Adaptive MCTS for General Video Game Playing”, EvoStar, 2018, to appear. (PDF)

2017

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Adrien Couetoux, Dennis J.N.J. Soemers, Mark H.M. Winands, Tom Vodopivec, Florian Kirchgessner, Jialin Liu, Simon M. Lucas, Diego Perez-Liebana, “The 2016 Two-Player GVGAI Competition”, IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games (TCIAIG), volume PP, issue 99, p. 1-1, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Rokas Volkovas, Carlos Gonzalez Diaz, Rory Davidson, “Automatic Game Tuning for Strategic Diversity”, IEEE Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC), p. 195-200, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Simon M. Lucas, Diego Perez-Liebana, “Rolling Horizon Evolution Enhancements in General Video Game Playing”, IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, p. 88-95, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Diego Perez-Liebana, Matthew Stephenson, Raluca D. Gaina, Jochen Renz, Simon M. Lucas “Introducing Real World Physics and Macro-Actions to General Video Game AI”, IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games, p.248-255, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Simon M. Lucas, Diego Perez-Liebana, “Population Seeding Techniques for Rolling Horizon Evolution in General Video Game Playing”, Special Session on Computational Intelligence in Games, IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), p. 1956-1963, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Kamolwan Kunanusont, Raluca D. Gaina, Jialin Liu, Diego Perez-Liebana, Simon M. Lucas, “The N-Tuple Bandit Evolutionary Algorithm for Automatic Game Improvement”, Special Session on Computational Intelligence in Games, IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), p. 2201-2208, 2017. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Jialin Liu, Simon M. Lucas, Diego Perez-Liebana, “Analysis of Vanilla Rolling Horizon Evolution Parameters in General Video Game Playing”, Squillero G., Sim K. (eds) Applications of Evolutionary Computation, EvoApplications, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 10199, Springer, Cham., p. 418-434, 2017. (PDF) (Springer)

2016

  • Raluca D. Gaina, Diego Perez-Liebana, Simon M. Lucas, “General Video Game for 2 Players: Framework and Competition”, Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC), p. 186-191, 2016. (PDF) (IEEEXplore)

Projects

Global Game Jam 2018: Kill the Penguin. (under development)
Global Game Jam 2017: Flappy McArmbands Goes to London.
Global Game Jam 2016: Rebirthfinal version.

Awards

IEEE Present Around The World Competition, University of Essex, 2017: Runner-up
IET Game AI Hackathon Competition, University of Essex, 2017: Runner-up Best Game Design
MSc Project Prize in the area of Computer Science, University of Essex, 2016 – awarded for the highest mark obtained in an MSc project in the CSEE department.
K.F Bowden Memorial prize, University of Essex, 2013 & 2014 – awarded for achieving one of the top four overall highest marks in the first, respectively second year in the CSEE department.

Funding

Postgraduate Support Scheme 10k Grant, University of Essex, 2015
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) Grant, 2016-2020

Research activities

Conferences attended

Asynchronous Research on AI & Games, OCT 2017, Online

  • Presentation: “Planning in Real-time Games with Rolling Horizon Evolution”, first ASYNC event by MetaMakers Institute

IGGI Conference, SEP 2017, York, UK

  • Presentation: “The General Video Game Playing Challenge: Improving RHEA & Playing Beyond Win”, with Cristina Guerrero-Romero.

IEEE Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG), AUG 2017, New York, USA

  • Presentation: “Rolling Horizon Evolution Enhancements in General Video Game Playing” paper, Special Session on General Game Playing.

IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), JUN 2017, San Sebastian, Spain

  • Presentation: “Population Initialization Techniques for Rolling Horizon Evolution in General Video Game Playing” paper, Special Session on Computational Intelligence and Games.
  • Presentation: General Video Game AI 2-Player Planning Competition 2017 results.

Evostar (EvoApplications/EvoGames), APR 2017, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Presentation: “Analysis of Vanilla Rolling Horizon Evolution Parameters in General Video Game Playing” paper, EvoGames.

IEEE Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC), SEP 2016, Colchester, UK

  • Presentation: “General Video Game for 2 Players: Framework and Competition” paper, Special Session on Computational Intelligence and Games.

Teaching

High Level Games Development module, University of Essex (BSc): 2016 (Graduate Lab Assistant, marking only)
High Level Games Development module, University of Essex (BSc): 2017 (Graduate Lab Assistant)
Game Artificial Intelligence module, University of Essex (MSc): 2017 (Graduate Lab Assistant)

Program Committee Member

  • IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC) 2017
  • AAAI Workshop on Knowledge Extraction from Games (KEG) 2018
  • IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC) 2018
  • IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG) 2018
  • IEEE Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) 2018

Others

  • GVGAI 2-Player track organizer
  • GVGAI tutorial given and organized in Queen Mary University of London (19 FEB 2018)
  • Assisted tutorial: “Computational Intelligence for Games: General Video Game AI – 2 Player” at IEEE Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC), University of Essex (SEP 2016)

External Links

General Video Game AI Competition (GVGAI)
Intelligent Games and Games Intelligence (IGGI)
UoE CSEE Women in Science (Athena Swan)

Contact

E-mail: r.d.gaina@qmul.ac.uk