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informal.bwR. Michael Young is a Professor of Computer Science and Deputy Director of the Engineering, Arts and Entertainment program at the University of Utah, as well as an adjunct professor of Computer Science at NCSU.   He directs the Liquid Narrative research group with students and staff at both institutions. His research focuses on the development of computational models of interactive narrative with applications to computer games, educational and training systems and virtual environments.  He has published more than 125 papers in leading conferences and journals in computer games, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, autonomous agents and intelligent user interfaces.

He has worked to co-found and build several of the leading conferences in the area of computer games research and has served as program committee member, program or conference chair for more than 50 leading conferences across the areas of artificial intelligence, virtual worlds and computer games. He has served as editor-in-chief or as a member of the editorial board of the leading journals in the area of games research. He has won a number awards including an NSF Career Award and an IBM Faculty Award He’s the only faculty member at NC State ever to win all three University awards for outstanding scholarship (research, teaching, and extension and engagement).  He was a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellow in Public Policy and Public Engagement in 2010 and his work with North Carolina games companies and state policy makers to strengthen the state’s games ecosystem has been widely recognized.  In 2015, Young was named an NCSU University Faculty Scholar. Young has supervised 22 M.S. and Ph.D. students over the last 15 years at NC State University. His research group is internationally known as a leading center for work on games research, especially in the area of interactive storytelling and AI in games.

His group has developed algorithms that address issues in cinematic 3D camera control in virtual worlds, the automatic construction of coherent, rich and understandable story lines, cloud-based architectures for the intelligent control of game environments and models of adaptation of story lines in interactive narrative contexts. His students have continued their research past graduation both as tenure-track faculty at leading universities and as senior scientists at companies in the games industry. His group has actively collaborated with many industrial and governmental organizations including Epic Games, Virtual Heroes, Microsoft, The Triangle Games Initiative and the DOD Advanced Distributed Learning initiative. He developed and directed the NCSU Computer Science department’s undergraduate concentration in game development, ranked in the top 4 public univeristy game programs in North America in 2014 by Princeton Review.  Young joined the faculty of the School of Computing at the University of Utah in 2016, where he is also the deputy director of the Engineering Arts and Entertainment program.  EAE’s undergraduate program was ranked #1 overall by Princeton Review in 2016 and their graduate program has been in the top five rankings since 2013.

Young’s research is currently supported by NSF, the NSA and several industrial partners, and he has served as a PI or Co-PI on more than 15 grants.

Detailed information about Michael’s background is available on his CV.

All of Young’s papers are available electronically at the Liquid Narrative Group’s publications page.

Selected Publications

  • Narrative Planning: Balancing Plot and Character, by Mark Riedl and R. Michael Young,  in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, vol. 39, pages  217-268 [PDF]
  • Annie: Automated Generation of Adaptive Learning Guidance For Fun Serious Games, by Jim Thomas and R. Michael Young, in IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, vol 3, no. 4, pages 329 – 343, Ocotober-December, 2010.  [PDF]
  • Cinematic Visual Discourse:  Representation, Generation and Evaluation, by Arnav Jhala and R. Michael Young, in IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, vol. 2, issue 2, pages 69 – 81, June 2010.
  • Proactive Mediation in Plan-Based Narrative Environments, by Justin Harris and R. Michael Young, in IEEE Transactions on Cmputational Intelligence and AI in Games, vol. 1, issue 3, pages 223-244, 2010.
  • Story and discourse: A bipartite model of narrative generation in virtual worlds by R. Michael Young,  in Interaction Studies, 2007. [PDF]

At NCSU, Michael taught the CSC graduate course on Computational Models of Interactive Narrative and the undergraduate classes on Game Design and Development. Previously, he taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Artificial Intelligence.

Michael also created and helped to run the NCSU Computer Science Undergraduate Concentration in Game Development.