Mark J. Nelson

Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
American University

Hi, I'm Mark. I'm a professor in the computer science department at American University, with a research focus on artificial intelligence (AI).

My specialty is AI & games. This includes technical research on game playing and analysis, design-support work using AI to empower designers, and conceptual work on formal models of games' mechanical and meaning-making elements.

Since it's often the first question someone asks: Oddly enough, I'm not really a huge gamer, though I do of course like to play some. What got me into this area is how interesting videogames are from an AI perspective. They bring together design of interactive systems; humans and AI agents interacting in constructed worlds; interactive storytelling; objective decision-making; aesthetics and enjoyment; goal-directed and non-goal-directed action; interactive art; and more.

Beyond AI and games, and in common with many others who identify with the broad AI tradition (rather than with a narrow technical subfield), I have fairly wide academic interests, both across AI, machine learning, and computer science, and in other fields that impact the computationalization of intelligence. A few specific side interests are computer music, domain-specific programming languages, and the history of computing.

Writing:

Email: mnelson@american.edu
Twitter: @mm_jj_nn