- Space Engineers had a great year!
- New developments on GoodAI Badger architecture
- Opened our new headquarters – Oranžérie
- My sabbatical in Italy
It is my tradition at the beginning of every year to publish a review of what we have achieved in the previous year, and what our plans are for the new one.
Review from 2018/2019 is here.
Review from last year (2019/2020) is here.
This year’s review starts here. Enjoy!
Keen Software House
We released Space Engineers on Xbox, and since then have released some major additions – dedicated server, modding support, and all new updates. We are supporting PC and Xbox equally.
March 2020 – New Planet Triton, Visual Scripting Tool Overhaul & Frostbite Pack
June 2020 – Sparks of the Future
August 2020 – Server Optimizations
November 2020 – Wasteland
Space Engineers’ user base is steadily growing (Steam Charts depicting “active users”).
We are re-organizing our team so that there’s one group focusing on supporting the next major updates, and another group that is focusing on more long-term avenues.
Recently we celebrated 7 years of Space Engineers and for this occasion, we made this video:
Last year we continued working on the cornerstone of our research – Badger architecture.
We continued working on various prototypes of Badger architectures and we summarized our progress in a number of articles:
- Benefits of modular approach – generalization – article
- Learning in Badger experts improves with episodic memory – article
- Trainability of Badger – Why is Badger so hard to train? – article
- Distributed Evolutionary Computation on Deep Reinforcement Learning Tasks – article
- Task Representation for Badger – article
The biggest challenges of Badger architecture still lie ahead of us:
- Demonstrate learning inside the inner loop
- Demonstrate open-ended learning capabilities (recursive self-improvement)
- Demonstrate continuous life-long learning: not forgetting, reuse of skills, reuse of skills to learn new skills
- Demonstrate parallel learning
We have noticed a number of papers published in 2020 that are similar or relevant to Badger architecture:
- Meta-Learning Backpropagation And Improving It by Louis Kirsch and Jürgen Schmidhuber.
- Network of Evolvable Neural Units: Evolving to Learn at a Synaptic Level by Paul Bertens and Seong-Whan Lee.
- Finding online neural update rules by learning to remember by Karol Gregor.
- MPLP: LEARNING A MESSAGE PASSING LEARNING PROTOCOL by Ettore Randazzo, Eyvind Niklasson, and Alexander Mordvintsev.
- Continual Learning with Deep Artificial Neurons by Blake Camp, Jaya Krishna Mandivarapu, and Rolando Estrada.
- Self-Organizing Intelligent Matter: A blueprint for an AI generating algorithm by Anonymous authors.
This development brings hope that other researchers find these principles interesting and that this sub-field of AI is going to grow.
Workshop & GoodAI Grants
During the summer we organized the first of our Meta-Learning & Multi-Agent Learning Workshops. The workshop saw over 60 participants from across the world take part including speakers from Google Brain, DeepMind, OpenAI, University of Oxford, Stanford University, and MIT. Before that, we had two closed workshops (1 and 2), both related to Badger architecture, multi-agent learning, modular meta-learning, open-endedness, and connected topics.
At the MLMA workshop, we launched a new initiative – GoodAI Grants. Researchers and research groups can submit their research proposals and if it’s relevant for what we are doing, especially Badger architecture, we provide a financial grant.
The first grant was awarded to Tomas Mikolov and his team, and many more will be announced soon. We had to double the initial budget because we received more than the expected number of interesting projects.
We have also been involved in a number of grant projects:
- We are part of the VeriDream project, an international consortium of six organizations across Europe that has been awarded €2 million by the European Innovation Council to implement AI into robotics.
- We are also working on iv4XR a Horizon 2020 project that aims to build a novel verification and validation technology for Extended Reality systems based on techniques from AI to provide learning and reasoning over a virtual world.
Papers and blog posts
Our team has been busy publishing papers and blog posts outlining our work and our grand vision! Below you can find a selection of this year’s publications.
One of our senior researchers, Nicholas Guttenberg, had co-authored a paper in Nature. Nicholas and a team of collaborators used AI to analyze fossils and find surprising patterns in Earth’s biological mass extinctions. You can read about that in Digital Trends here and you can find the original paper in Nature here.
GoodAI COO, Olga Afanasjeva, has written an opinion on What kind of AGI do we want? It is a great summary of what kind of research framework we believe we need if we want AI to perpetuate some of the values we hold dearest: curiosity, creativity, a need to be surprised, and to marvel.
AI Policy and Social Impact Director, Marek Havrda, PhD, has also been busy. His article on AI’s Role in Community Engagement within the Democratic Process was published in Springer Journal. He also took part in many international meetings on AI on behalf of GoodAI. You can read his report from the first OECD network of experts on AI here and his report from the expert workshop on International Governance of AI here. Marek and Olga also worked together on a forward-looking blog outlining 9 ways AGI could shape the world for the better.
The start of the year also saw the results of the Animal-AI Olympics. This project was organized by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Imperial College London and GoodAI..
Finally, one of our older architectures Toy Architecture was published in PLOS ONE.
And Senior Research Scientist Petr Hlubuček wrote a blog on the Implementation of Generative Teaching Networks for PyTorch.
What did we learn during 2020? Vanilla Badger architecture is not enough, at least a few additional ideas need to be invented in order to push forward. That’s what we are working on!
Because of COVID situation, we had only a few months to experience our new premises. Then everyone left for the home office. We are looking forward to next year, after the situation gets better and people will be able to meet again.
COVID had no negative effect on KSH and GoodAI.
There were actually few positives (even though it sounds strange in this context)
- Our revenue grew during the first and most intensive months of lockdowns
- We proved that home office and remote work is a viable option and it quickly became our standard
- Remote first and not requiring our team members to be present in Prague opened doors for hiring people internationally. I always wanted this and was planning it in the future, but now the situation forced us.
At present, 75% of our team is located in the Czech Republic and 25% is abroad.
For many years, while I was performing my CEO duties, I was missing programming. I missed being able to implement my ideas directly and to see the results instantly.
During 2020 I worked on redesigning my schedule and my management style, to have more “alone time”, to be able to start working on my own experiments.
In order to kick it off, I took a 2 months sabbatical in Italy, during which I started working on what I call “Manual Badger”. I published the first blog post detailing my early experiments with the evolutionary dynamic of sexual selection.
I plan to continue on what I started, delegating more and having time to do focused work.
The trip to Italy lasted almost 4 months and because I love Italy and its ancient history, I was enjoying every day. We went by car, from Prague to Florence, Sicily, by ferry to Naples, and then we stayed in Rome for a couple of months. I have hundreds of photos, it’s hard to pick, so here are at least few.
Plans for 2021
Keen Software House
Development of Space Engineers will continue with regular major updates.
We will continue building our team, to be able to keep the support and updates, and also to focus on new and revolutionary areas.
We will be announcing a new batch of GoodAI grants soon, supporting interesting research groups around the globe.
We will continue experimenting with various approaches to Badger architecture.
In the summer we plan to organize another round of the MLMA Workshop.
Thank you for reading this blog!
CEO, Creative Director, Founder at Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, Founder at GoodAI
For more news:
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.com
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org
Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for its best-seller Space Engineers (4 million copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic.
Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. He started his career as a programmer but later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of the Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to personally fund GoodAI, his new general AI research company building human-level artificial intelligence.
GoodAI started in January 2014 and has over 30 research scientists, engineers, and consultants working across its Research and Applied teams.
At this time, Marek is developing Space Engineers, as well as leading daily research and development on recursive self-improvement based general AI architecture – Badger.