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Michael Bowling

Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair

Academic Affiliations

Professor – University of Alberta (Computing Science); Principal Investigator – Reinforcement Learning & Artificial Intelligence Lab (University of Alberta)

Industry and Research Affiliations

Research Scientist – DeepMind

Areas of Expertise

Artificial intelligence; reinforcement learning; learning in games; game theory; deep reinforcement learning; agent modelling; subjective representations; multiagent learning; multiagent planning; mobile robots

“I love games. They’re a window into the thought processes and decisions we all make every day as intelligent beings.”

Michael Bowling

Games are serious business

Michael Bowling is fascinated by the problem of how computers can learn to play games through experience. He is best known for his work in poker, most notably on two milestone advances, both published in Science: Cepheus ‘essentially’ solved the game of heads-up limit Texas hold’em in 2015, and in late 2016, DeepStack became the first AI to beat human professionals at heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em. Both systems represent theoretical leaps forward in the world of imperfect (or hidden) information games. In leading the development of the Arcade Learning Environment, which launched in 2013, Michael played a pivotal role in the adoption of Atari as a key challenge problem and testbed for AI researchers across the world. The Arcade Learning Environment was instrumental in establishing the subfield of deep reinforcement learning.

Michael is a Fellow and Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii, a full professor at the University of Alberta and a Research Scientist at DeepMind in Edmonton, AB. He is also a principal investigator in the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence (RLAI) Lab and leader of the Computer Poker Research Group – both at the University of Alberta. He has been an associate editor for top publications such as the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research and has sat on the programming committees for more than 50 academic conferences, including AAAI, NeurIPS, ICML and IJCAI. With more than 100 papers published in scientific journals and refereed conferences and as the academic supervisor of over 30 early-stage researchers, Michael has been the recipient of numerous research and teaching awards. His work has been featured on the television programs Scientific American Frontiers, National Geographic Today, and Discovery Channel Canada, as well appearing in the New York Times, Wired, on CBC and BBC radio, and twice in exhibits at the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC.

Featured Articles

“Games are neat little packages of content that let us create AI that can reason, plan, strategize – even play – all things that are fundamental aspects of intelligence.”

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Articles by Michael Bowling

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