Faculty Directory
Ian Horswill

Associate Professor of Computer Science

Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence


2233 Tech Drive
Mudd Room 3537
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-1256Email Ian Horswill


Ian Horswill's Homepage


Computer Science


Master of Science in Robotics Program


Ph.D. Computer Science, MIT, Cambridge, MA

S.M. Computer Science, MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.CSci., University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota

Research Interests

My involves using artificial intelligence to expand the expressive potential of computational media such as games and interactive narrative.   I'm interested in exploring alternative genres and interaction modes that afford new kinds of experiences not normally targetted by digital games.  For example, interactive narrative is interesting because it offers the promise of an aesthetics that emphasizes experiences of identification, empathy, and affiliation, over mastery and control.  However, making a piece that provides those experiences in practice is a difficult task that involves a number of interesting research problems in computer science and cognitive science.

My recent work has focused on building constraint programmign systems that artists and designers can use to build generative systems.  Constraint programming allows designers to specify desiderata for the generated artifacts without having to develop a bespoke algorithm for generating them.  For example, the system can be used to generate personalities and backstories for characters in a game.  Unlike generative methods based on machine learning or Markov models, constraint-based systems can guarantee never to generate nonsensical or self-contradictory characters.

Selected Publications

  • Ian Horswill, Rob Zubek, and Matt Viglione, “Game AI Pro 3”, CRC Press, (2017)
  • Ian D. Horswill, “Dear leader's happy story time”, WS-16-21, (2016)
  • Leif Foged and Ian Horswill, “Game AI Pro 2”, A K Peters/CRC Press, (2015)
  • Ian Horswill, “Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games: Integration”, Dagstuhl Seminar Series, (2015)
  • Sukthankar, Gita; Horswill, Ian, “The ninth annual AAAI conference on artificial intelligence and interactive digital entertainment (AIIDE): A report”, AI Magazine, (2014)
  • Young, R. Michael; Horswill, Ian; Jhala, Arnav; Dill, Kevin; Orkin, Jeff, “Preface”, Proceedings of the 10th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, AIIDE 2014, (2014)
  • Leif Foged and Ian Horswill, “Game AI Pro 2”, AK Peters/CRC Press, (2014)
  • Horswill, Ian D.; Montfort, Nick; Young, R. Michael, “Guest editorial: Computational narrative and games”, IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, (2014)