Jacob Schrum

Notable Achievements

Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science Jacob Schrum has had two peer-reviewed submissions accepted to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, which will be held virtually in July 2021. Both submissions were written by undergraduate coauthors who participated in SCOPE during the summer of 2020: Benjamin Capps ’23 had a full paper, titled “Using Multiple Generative Adversarial Networks to Build Better-Connected Levels for Mega Man,” accepted for publication in the proceedings and will present the paper orally at the conference. Kirby Steckel ’21 had a poster paper accepted to the conference. A two-page extended abstract of his paper, “Illuminating the Space of Beatable Lode Runner Levels Produced by Various Generative Adversarial Networks,” will appear in the companion to the proceedings and will be presented at the conference’s virtual poster session.

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Expertise

Artificial Intelligence, specifically Evolutionary Computation, Neural Networks, Neuroevolution, Artificial Life, Multiobjective Optimization, and Reinforcement Learning.

Dr. Schrum majored in Computer Science, Math, and German as an undergraduate at Southwestern University, and graduated in 2006. He then attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his PhD in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence. In particular, Dr. Schrum applies Evolutionary Computation to video game domains. As a graduate student at UT, he won the BotPrize competition in 2012, which was a Turing Test for bots in the game Unreal Tournament 2004, and his dissertation focused on the evolution of Neural Networks to play the classic game of Ms. Pac-Man. Since returning to Southwestern University as a professor in 2014, he encourages active learning and participation in the classroom. He has filmed over 80 short instructional videos for students to watch before class, so that in-class sessions can be focused on problem solving. He is also a regular mentor for Southwestern University’s SCOPE summer research program, and has published several research papers with Southwestern University students. He also interacts with students outside of class as a member of both the CS Club and German Club.

Education

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin 2014
MS, University of Texas at Austin 2009
BS, Southwestern University 2006

Honors & Awards

  • First place in Ms. Pac-Man vs. Ghosts competition 2018, a competition to design controllers for a challenging partially observable version of Ms. Pac-Man.
  • Grand prize in BotPrize 2012, a competition to design human-like agents for video games.
  • UTCS Department’s 2012 Teaching Assistant Excellence Award.
  • Inaugural Paideia Scholar at SU in 2006.

Affiliations

  • Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • SIGEVO: Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation
  • SIGCSE: Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • IEEE Computational Intelligence Society
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), Computer Science Honorary Society
  • Pi Mu Epsilon (PME), Mathematics Honorary Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), Academic Honor Society
  • Alpha Chi (AX), Academic Honor Society

In the News

  • Patience, Grit, and an Open Mind

    Lauren Gillespie ’19 reflects on what it takes to research, present, and publish successfully as a chemistry and computer science double major.

  • Hands-on Learning

    Alumnus Jacob Schrum ’06, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, reflects on his time as a student at SU, what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk, and chimes in with his thoughts on Artificial Intelligence. Spoiler alert: we’re not doomed.

  • Computer Science Majors Develop Artificial Intelligence for Video Games

    SCOPE project focuses on developing intelligent agents using video games and creating visual patterns on a computer screen.