Theresa Duringer is CEO of Temples Gates Games, a San Francisco based game studio creating award-winning games for Gear, Rift and Vive. Her team is known for Bazaar, Ascension VR, and Race for the Galaxy as well as integrating machine learning AI to challenge even the most experienced players. With a focus on delivering seamless UX with high performance, she uses their custom C++ engine to create flexible solutions for the challenges of delivering games across platforms. Prior to founding Temple Gates Games, she co-created Cannon Brawl and contributed on the Sims, Sim City, and Spore at Maxis.
Prof. David Silver
David Silver leads the reinforcement learning research group at Google DeepMind. David graduated from Cambridge University in 1997 with the Addison-Wesley award. Subsequently, David co-founded the video games company Elixir Studios, where he was CTO and lead programmer, receiving several awards for technology and innovation. David returned to academia in 2004 to study for a PhD on reinforcement learning with Rich Sutton, where he co-introduced the algorithms used in the first master-level 9x9 Go programs. David was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2011, and subsequently became a professor at University College London. David consulted for DeepMind from its inception, joining full-time in 2013, where he leads the reinforcement learning team. David co-led the Atari project, in which a program learned to play 50 different games directly from pixels (Nature 2015). He is best-known for leading the AlphaGo project, culminating in the first program to defeat a top professional player in the full-size game of Go (Nature 2016), as well as the AlphaZero project (Nature 2017), in which a program learned by itself to defeat the world's strongest chess, shogi and Go programs (Science 2018). These achievements have been recognised by awards such as the Marvin Minsky Medal, Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal, Mensa Foundation Prize, Cannes Lion Grand Prix and several best paper awards.
Microsoft Research Cambridge
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.
Jon Paul Schelter
Team Lead Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto
Jon Paul Schelter is a Team Lead Programmer at Ubisoft Toronto. As the AI Team Lead on action-adventure game Starlink: Battle for Atlas, he led the team responsible for the populating and simulating the procedurally generated worlds, and is focused on compelling NPC behaviour in the intersection between systemic and more traditional, crafted narrative approaches to games.
Jon Paul brings 23 years of game development experience to Ubisoft Toronto, where he previously worked on Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin's Creed Unity, and is currently working on an unannounced project. A graduate from Queen’s University with a degree in Physics and Computer Science, Jon Paul first began programming games on the Ti-99/4A, and his first published titles include The Crow: City of Angels and The Perfect Weapon for the Saturn and PS1. He joined Matrox Graphics as a member of the driver and GPU architecture teams, representing Matrox at the OpenGL ARB where he contributed to several versions of the standard as well as to the vertex and fragment programming extensions. Prior to joining Ubisoft Toronto, Jon Paul was a programmer at Rockstar Games, where he was responsible for the Animation, 3Cs and Combat systems on the highly acclaimed PS2/Xbox game The Warriors, and later a founding member and Technical Director at Bedlam Games in Toronto, focused on AAA and online competitive games.
Chief Product Officer, Spirit AI
Emily Short is Chief Product Officer and an executive director at Spirit AI, where she works with natural language processing and generation, character moods and social behavior, and conversation modelling. She was previously the creative director of the Versu project, building interactive iPad stories around AI character agents. She has an extensive background in games writing and narrative design as well as tooling for writing interactive fiction. Her blog can be found at http://emshort.blog.
Honorary Professor, University of Essex
Dr Richard A. Bartle is Honorary Professor of Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, UK. He is best known for having co-written in 1978 the first virtual world, MUD, and for his Player Types model which has seen widespread adoption by the MMO industry. His 2003 book, Designing Virtual Worlds, is the standard text on the subject, and he is an influential writer on all aspects of online design and development. In 2010, he was the first recipient of the prestigious Game Developers Choice award of Online Game Legend.
Managing Director, ESL UK
James Dean is the founder and Managing Director of the ESL UK subsidiary, building the ESL brand and community on a regional level. James began his career in IT writing for UK’s largest computer magazine while studying for a Degree in Computer Science at Birmingham University. After graduating James managed the PC division of a well-known computer retailer in the UK and in 2004 launched a gaming brand of PCs increasing average margins from 6% to 20%.
In 2006, James founded a sales, marketing and PR company specialising in services for the IT and gaming industry, representing brands without existing operations in the UK. Within 3 years, the agency was generating over £5m annual revenues for various niche gaming brands including SteelSeries, the well-known esports peripheral brand.
This shaped the foundation of the ESL UK franchise after introduction to ESL Germany in 2012 which was eventually purchased by ESL’s global group in 2016. ESL is the world’s largest esports company with 15 offices spanning the globe. The UK office has maintained 50%+ year-on-year growth since it’s foundation. It operates the UK’s longest running national esports tournament, the ESL Premiership currently spanning 4 gaming titles. To this date, ESL still holds records for the largest ever online audience for a UK esports tournament.