Portrait of Sam Devlin

Sam Devlin

Senior Researcher


My long term goal is to create autonomous agents capable of intelligible decision making in a wide range of complex environments with real world applications. In particular, my passion is using digital games to push boundaries in the capabilities of modern AI and making state of the art methods accessible to encourage a new generation of intelligent games. To achieve these goals, my research currently focuses on machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital games and player experience.

Previously, I received an MEng degree in Computer Systems and Software Engineering from the University of York in 2009 including a year working with the human factors team at BAE Systems. After completing this degree I worked on traditional commercial game AI, integrating behaviour trees and nav mesh generation into the open-source game engine CrystalSpace as part of the Google Summer of Code program in 2009 and again in 2012. In 2013, I completed my PhD on multi-agent reinforcement learning at the University of York and visited Oregon State University funded by a Santander International Connections Award. Before starting my current role at Microsoft Research, I was a Research Associate from 2013-2015 on the EPSRC funded New Economic Models and Opportunities for digital Games project working on data mining for collective game intelligence, and then a research fellow/lecturer in the Digital Creativity Labs where I led a team focussed on integrating decision making AI (including deep reinforcement learning and Monte Carlo tree search) into modern commercial videogames