Singapore, July 18, 2006

At the Forefront of Gaming Innovation

National University of Singapore Plays it Smart

Singapore could soon become a main player in the gaming business, as government and universities are substantially ramping up their efforts in interactive and digital media.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) recently recruited Alexander Nareyek, who is one of the leading figures in the area of artificial intelligence for computer gaming. "We are proud to attract top international talent like Alex," says Swee-Ping Yeo, Head of the ECE Dept, "The department has been active in interactive and digital media since 2001 and we will continue to enhance our strengths in this high-growth area."

The new faculty member, Alexander Nareyek, has just launched the Interactive Intelligence Labs at the department (see "The goal of the labs," he explains, "is to push the limits in artificial intelligence for gaming and virtual environments. We are working on fascinating topics like virtual actors, procedural content generation, and automated optimization of user fun and experience. Imagine your computer or mobile phone with an intelligent artificial assistant, teacher, tour guide, or even a virtual friend, or playing a computer game in which the story is generated on the fly to meet your preferences. To achieve these objectives, a very close cooperation with groups from the arts, psychology and screenwriting is in the works. Needless to say, the gaming industry is getting very excited, and you will see a strong industry involvement in our work."

The Singaporean government is pumping more than a billion US$ over the next years into research on interactive and digital media, determined to make Singapore a key player in this promising area. "NUS plays it smart," says Allan Simonsen, head of Singapore's chapter of the International Game Developers Association. "With well-known leaders like Alexander Nareyek, interdisciplinary structures instead of purely technology-driven research, and adequate financial support from government, there is hardly a way around NUS becoming one of the world's top spots for gaming research."

Acknowledged as one of the finest universities in the Asia-Pacific region, the Times of London ranks the National University of Singapore 22nd in the world, and 9th in Engineering and IT. Companies looking into collaborations, or students wanting to pursue their PhD in the area of gaming and artificial intelligence, should consult Alexander Nareyek (see above for the labs' webpage). Queries about general studies in interactive and digital media should be directed to the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (see