January 14
2021

SUMMARY:

  • Space Engineers had a great year!
  • New developments on GoodAI Badger architecture
  • Opened our new headquarters – Oranžérie
  • My sabbatical in Italy

 


 

Intro

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

This was another great year for Space Engineers.

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

 

 

April 2020 – Space Engineers: Xbox Release

 

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”).

 

Recent reviews and all reviews are at ~90% (Very Positive), which is a very good sign after all these years.

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:

 

GoodAI

Badger summary

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:

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!

Oranžérie

In the summer we held an opening party for our new headquarters – Oranžérie.

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.

 

Photo credit: Ondřej Pýcha

 

 

COVID

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.

Personal

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.

GoodAI

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!


Best,

Marek Rosa
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
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org

Personal bio:
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.

 

 

  1. Really looking forward to the content updates of SE! Congrats to the entire team for mastering that hard year of 2020. Good Luck for the future!

  2. Thanks a lot for this game, more than 2300 hours playing and I still really enjoy it.
    I wish the team all the best for this new year.

  3. I have a general question, what could GOODWIN be used for? Like medical, or videos/images or is it just general research

  4. Hello! I've been playing Space Engineers since 2014 and it remains my favourite game! I wanted to create content using VST tools, because I'm very faimiliar with them, however they remain broken and unpolished, which prevents me from implementing engineering contracts that I've wanted to do for players. Do you think these tools could get another look? (Yes, I know they were updated not long ago, but that haven't made the tool work porperly)

  5. Heya Boss! I picked up SE just after release after a friend recommended it to me back in 2013. To this day it's still my most played game (8300hrs+) and my favourite in my library. I love the fact that each and every scenario can be so different from the last thanks to the flexibility of the game to modding and the near on infinite amount of possibilites when it comes to creations. Keep up the great work, looking forward to the future.

  6. Thanks so much the support! So happy to see xbox and PC getting treated equally, especially from a smaller company like KSH. I preordered the xbox release and havent stopped playing since! This game is easily on my top 5 games of all time. Thank you devs!

  7. I remember when it first came to beta? I saw SPACE and ships and I thought: I Must have this game. back then i thing it was only like 9.99 Euros? best purchase of my live. GO CZ GO KSH. THANK YOU.

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