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Computer Science
2018 Project Proposal

From Words to Dungeons (and Dragons)

Simon Ellis (Computer Science)

In computer games, the map is programmed into the computer and is revealed to the player a little at a time as the human player progresses through the game. The computer keeps track of where the player has been and manages the minimap, so the player always knows what is explored and unexplored.  But what if the computer was the player and a human had the map? And what if the computer were a player in a game which uses natural language as the primary medium, such as a role-playing game like ""Dungeons and Dragons""? How would the computer know what kind of room it was in if the map wasn't just programmed into it? Could it find its way around, and recognise if it had been somewhere before?  This project aims to explore the creation of an AI agent which can understand fairly simple natural language to map and explore a dungeon described to it by a human.      

Prerequisites: 

Required:  Good programming skills. Knowledge of Python or Java, or a willingness to learn. A solid understanding of data structures and algorithms.

Desirable: Experience of natural language processing and/or language parsing would be useful but is not required.  Experience of playing role-playing games would be good, but is not required.   

How should students express their interest in this project?  If you are interested in working on this project, please, please send me an email: this helps me remember keep track of applications. Please include your name, your major and year, and a little bit about why you would like to work on this project. We will then arrange an appointment to meet and discuss the project; I expect you to bring a code sample with you for me to review.

While this project is going to be fairly coding intensive, enthusiasm for the subject and a willingness to learn and explore new ideas and material are also highly desirable. If you are interested, please do apply!