We are a group of Artificial Intelligence researchers with specific interests in the automation and evaluation of creative processes in software. We pursue both practical applications and theoretical developments, in addition to engaging in philosophical discourse about the issues raised when consdering software which is meant to be autonomously creative.

Ongoing Projects

Written by Michael Cook, ANGELINA is software we are using to investigate aspects of automated game design. We have been awarded an EPSRC grant entitled: Creative Code Generation for Interactive Media, and we will be investigating the possibility for creative software to generate and modify its own program code, by extending ANGELINA to generate code for videogames. Below are a couple of papers about ANGELINA, with more on Mike's webpages.

Funded by an EPSRC Fellowship, we aim to bring more formality to the assessment of creativity (and our perception of it) in software, and progress in general in Computational Creativity research. We have challenged foundational notions such as the usage of Turing-style tests, proposed new formalisms and raised various philosophical issues. The Fellowship also acts as an umbrella for all the projects in the group, in particular the FloWr and HR projects.

In the EC-funded COINVENT project, working with teams in Barcelona, Bremen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Osnabrück and Thessaloniki, we aim to develop a computationally feasible, cognitively-inspired formal model of concept creation, drawing on Fauconnier and Turner's theory of conceptual blending, and grounding it on a sound mathematical theory of concepts (based on Goguen's proposal of a Unified Concept Theory). To validate our model, we will implement a proof of concept of an autonomous computational creative system that will be evaluated by people in two testbed scenarios: mathematical reasoning and melodic harmonization.

We have undertaken many projects to stretch the complexity of artefacts that can be produced by evolutionary means. Amongst other things, we have looked at evolving abstract art pieces, building designs for games, behaviour trees for AI-bots, artistic scenes, simple interactive games, image filters and pixel shaders. We have used these projects to investigate evolutionary approaches as a suitable AI technique for Computational Creativity projects.

Under development by John Charnley, Simon Colton and Teresa Llano, the FloWr system is a general-purpose framework for building creative software. More than being a mere tool to enable people to develop generative software, the FloWr system itself will produce, test and improve upon new Flowcharts, ane we will use this as a platform for investigating automated process invention. We released the software to the Computational Creativity community in early 2014. Here is an extended abstract describing the approach:

We have always been fascinated by the processes at work in mathematical discovery, and in the potential for mathematical reasoning to solve Artificial Intelligence problems. We have developed a novel hybrid learning/reasoning approach called Automated Theory Formation, implemented it in the HR System, and applied this to many mathematical discovery and creative problem solving projects. There are dozens of papers about HR on the website, and this paper summarises it in machine learning terms, and summarises the achievements of the project:

Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) is a method for making optimal decisions in Artificial Intelligence problems, typically move planning in combinatorial games. Cameron Browne and Simon Colton are investigating MCTS as part of the EPSRC project "UCT for Games and Beyond" in collaboration with the universities of Essex and York. Our particular interest in MCTS lies in its potential use as a creative search algorithm for game design and other creative tasks.

We aim to build a software system called The Painting Fool, which is one day taken seriously as a creative artist in its own right. To achieve this, we are implementing AI, Vision, NLP and Graphics techniques to slowly hand over creative responsibility to the software. In addition, we regularly hold exhibitions of The Painting Fool's artwork in galleries, conferences and other events. We also engage with the public and researchers on philosophical issues raised by the project. There is much more information on The Painting Fool's own website.

Concept formation has been simulated in many areas of Artificial Intelligence research, such as machine learning. However, with only a few exceptions, this has always been done in order to find out more about reality. Working with partners from Cambridge, Dublin, JSI and Madrid on an EC-funded project, we are researching how to build software which can invent, assess and present fictional ideas which can become the basis of cultural artefacts such as poems, stories, advertisements and paintings.

Completed Projects

The CADGame project investigated new approaches to automatically modelling player behaviour and experience from gameplay data, to support human game designers and improved player-adaption in video games. We worked with partners at Rebellion Developments Ltd., a well known game design studio based in Oxford, on exploiting data capture in their design tools.

Robin Baumgarten developed an AI-Bot programming API for Introversion's strategy game DEFCON, which is a minimalist RTS game about nuclear war. The project page contains information about the API, an FAQ and tutorial, and example implementations. There was a IEEE Competition , and we also experimented in building AI-bots which competed successfully against Introversion's own automated opponent, as described in these papers: