About the Game Informatics Research Group


In games, rules are clearly defined and results are easy to evaluate (win or loss is easily translated to capability). Furthermore, games in themselves have very interesting features, and since the early days of Computer Science have been a prime research target. In particularly, chess has been called "the Drosophila of Artificial Intelligence", and has led to major breakthroughs in broad research areas such as Search, Databases, Machine Learning and Special Purpose Architectures. Puzzles have also made major contributions to the research of algorithms. Unfortunately, in Japan, games and puzzles have not often been a subject of research, which could be considered one of the reasons for lagging behind the international developments in Computer Science.

Since 1994, the Game Programming Workshop has been held annually organized by the Computer Shogi Association and the Computer Go Forum, both volunteer organizations. After four times, it was clear that there was great interest in this workshop, with many presentations and many participants. Also, in 1997 the robot soccer tournament RoboCup was started, in which among teams from many different countries, Japanese teams were taking a prominent role. A simulation of soccer can be seen as a multi-agent game. As a result of these favorable circumstances, the number of game researchers has increased and the level of the research has improved significantly. However, none of the research societies provided had provided a forum for the research activities in this area. There was a clear need to provide a gathering place for those with a broad interest in games as a research subject.

From a Computer Science point of view, there are many different types of games. There are the chess-like Two-player Complete Information games, where Shogi and Go have a problem space that is vastly larger than chess, Incomplete Information games like Bridge and Poker and even Real-time Multi-Agent Systems like soccer. Furthermore, games can be used to acquire new knowledge about a large number of real-world phenomena. For example, thinking of evolution theory as a game and defining social interactions as a game has been tried successfully in the past. Also, a very interesting topic of research is not only striving to build strong game programs, but also to use the computer to analyze the history of games themselves and their social impact. For example, analyzing the question "Which games will become popular worldwide?" using the computer could have important practical implications.

From this, it can be concluded that games are an outstanding research topic. Especially at this time, when game research has been recognized worldwide by the victory of the computer over the world chess champion, it was felt that game research could make a strong contribution to the general development of computer science in Japan. Therefore, to gather interest in game research in the widest sense, the new "Game Informatics Research Group" was founded in this new research area.

Main Research Areas

  1. Game playing programs
  2. Puzzle solving algorithms
  3. Puzzle creation programs
  4. Cognition of human game players
  5. Learning of strategic knowledge in games
  6. Internet games
  7. Analysis of human behavior using Game Theory
  8. Multi-agent games (e.g. soccer)
  9. Analysis of the history of a game using the computer
  10. Development of new games using the computer
  11. Game Architectures
  12. Computer support systems for mastering games
  13. Social simulations using games
  14. Interpretation and simulation of evolution using games

Founding Members

Toru Ishida (Kyoto University) Koichiro Ishihara (Takushoku University) Hiroyuki Iida (Shizuoka University) Takeshi Ito (University of Electro-Communications) Masato Kamata (Iwate Prefectural University) Hiroaki Kitano (Sony Computer Science Laboratory) Takuya Kojima (NTT Basic Research Laboratory) Yoshiyuki Kotani (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology) Kenji Koyama (NTT Communications Science Laboratory) Ken Sato (Hokkaido University) Noriaki Sanechika (Electrotechnical Laboratory) Kensuke Shimizu (Gunma University) Shinichi Sei (Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory Inc.) Takenobu Takizawa (Waseda University) Ikuo Takeuchi (University of Electro-Communications) Morihiko Tajima (Electrotechnical Laboratory) Tetsuro Tanaka (Tokyo University) Yasuhiko Tanaka (Nihon University) Hideyuki Nakashima (Electrotechnical Laboratory) Teigo Nakamura (Kyushu University of Technology) Shinichi Nakayama (University of Electro-Communications) Koichi Hashida (Electrotechnical Laboratory) Yuzuru Hiraga (University of Library and Information Science) Kenji Fukushima (Intelligent Technology, Inc.) Hitoshi Matsubara (Electrotechnical Laboratory) Atsushi Yoshikawa (NTT Basic Research Laboratory)

How to Join

Membership Fee (2008-2009) Members of the IPSJ: 2,310 Yen, Non-members of the IPSJ: 3,310 Yen

(Members do not need to pay extra fees for research meetings and also recieve proceedings free of charge. However, for the Game Programming Workshops an entry fee is required, but there is a special reduction for members)

Please direct applications for membership directly to the Information Processing Society of Japan.
Members of the IPSJ, please refer to Join a research group (in Japanese)
Non-members of the IPSJ should refer to How to become a member (in Japanese)

Last modified: Wed Mar 14 10:32:12 JST 2012