Faculty Directory
Ian Horswill

Associate Professor of Computer Science


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 research 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 targeted 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 declarative programming systems that artists and designers can use to build generative systems. Declarative 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

  • Horswill, Ian D; Robison, Ethan, What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done at a conference? Operationalizing Dread’s questionnaire mechanic, CEUR Workshop Proceedings 2282 (2018).
  • Horswill, Ian D, CATSAT, AAAI Press:38-44 (2018).
  • Horswill, Ian Douglas, Postmortem, AAAI Press:45-51 (2018).
  • Horswill, Ian D; Zubek, Robert; Viglione, Matthew, Building custom static checkers using declarative programming, CRC Press:487-496 (2017).
  • Horswill, Ian D, Dear leader's happy story time, AI Access Foundation:39-45 (2016).