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13 May 2016

Artificial Intelligence in the workplace: York collaborates with software company MooD International to lead new research

The University of York will collaborate with software provider MooD International on an innovative project that aims to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and computer game technology to help organisations make good management decisions.

The joint Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University’s Department of Computer Science and MooD International will involve researchers working with MooD employees and customers to investigate a common gaming algorithm known as Monte Carlo Tree Search. They aim to produce a similar decision-making support engine that can be used in business applications for the workplace.

The partnership will create innovative new software that uses techniques from AI and computer gaming to visualise the impact of complex business decisions in exciting new ways. Using this approach, decision makers in large organisations will be better equipped to make the right choices for achieving the outcomes that matter most.

Dr Daniel Kudenko, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Academic Supervisor for the KTP, said: “Despite huge developments in AI research and gaming intelligence in recent years, there is still a big gulf between such techniques and how they can be applied to real-life situations.

“This partnership will enable us to explore how AI-enabled machines and systems can operate in the complex, uncertain world of the business environment, with the potential to create significant value beyond their current game-playing applications.”

Dr Simon Smith, Chief Technology Officer for MooD International, said: “The University of York is already starting to pioneer research techniques in AI and automation to enable machines and people to interact in ways that enhance creative experiences, and solve complex problems of understanding and insight, as seen through work at the University’s Digital Creativity Labs.

“The key challenges that our customers face in trying to run efficient, outcome-focused businesses are remarkably similar to these creative problems - just harder.  This KTP partnership will allow us to tap into this rapidly evolving body of work by embedding research directly within MooD International, with reach back into the University, to enable us to tackle these real-world problems in a collaborative and creative way.”

MooD International recently worked with the University of York on a Small Innovation Project, funded by the Yorkshire Innovation Fund, to test the feasibility of applying Monte Carlo Tree Search to the domain of business decision making.

The KTP formalises this partnership, funded by Innovate UK, which will initially run for two years.

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