Neil Burch

Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair

Academic Affiliations

Adjunct Professor – University of Alberta (Computing Science)

Industry and Research Affiliations

Research Scientist – DeepMind

Areas of Expertise

Artificial intelligence; game theory; heuristic search; machine learning; agent modelling

Working in large, sometimes ambiguous environments, Neil seeks to make search applicable to a wider class of imperfect information environments.

Searching with imperfect information

Neil Burch’s research centres around imperfect information games – ones in which different information is known to each player – and improving the use of search techniques in large environments. Working in these large, sometimes ambiguous environments, he seeks to make search applicable to a wider class of imperfect information environments and remove limitations and assumptions in current search procedures. Through this research, Neil is working to develop methods for AI agents to use search for decision making without requiring the agent to consider all possible worlds. He is also focused on combining learning and search, using imperfect information settings as opportunities to learn more about other agents. Combining these two research lines, Neil aims to expand our ability to use search in large, real-world settings where actors have different observations of the world, and may not all be making perfectly-rational decisions.

Neil is a Fellow and Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, and a Research Scientist with DeepMind. He has acted as co-chair for the Annual Computer Poker Competition, where he was a part of the team that achieved first place in 24 out of 44 events (top 3 in 40 events). Throughout his career, Neil has made significant contributions to the area of games research, including his involvement in solving checkers in 2007 and heads-up limit poker in 2015 and in producing DeepStack, the first AI system to beat human professionals at heads-up no-limit poker in 2016. His research has appeared on the cover of Science magazine and been featured in top conferences, including the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Conference on AI, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference, and many others. He has won best paper awards at IJCAI for his work in both poker as well as checkers.

Featured Articles

Neil has won best paper awards at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence both for his work on poker as well as checkers.

Articles by Neil Burch

Connect with the community

Get involved in Alberta's growing AI ecosystem! Speaker, sponsorship, and letter of support requests welcome.

Explore training and advanced education

Curious about study options under one of our researchers? Want more information on training opportunities?

Harness the potential of artificial intelligence

Let us know about your goals and challenges for AI adoption in your business. Our Investments & Partnerships team will be in touch shortly!