Jacob Schrum

Notable Achievements

Southwestern had strong representation at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges South Central Conference at the University of Texas at Dallas on April 5. Students presented the following posters:

  • “Voluntunity: Building a Volunteer Opportunity Website with Django” by TaylorAxtell ’19, SaraBoyd ’20, LaurenGillespie ’19, Danielle Orbach ’19, and Colin Scruggs ’19, part of their computer-science capstone work with Associate Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony.
  • “Creating a User-Friendly System to Facilitate Tracking and Entry of Internship Hours” by Adina Friedman ’19, William Price ’19, Elyssa Sliheet ’19, Isabel Tweraser ’19, and Jacob Yager ’20, also part of the computer-science capstone.
  • “Verification of Welfare Transactions on the Blockchain” by Adanna Court ’19, Devon Fulcher ‘19, Bobby Garza ‘19, Alexander Hoffman ‘20, and Daniel Maldonado ‘19, also part of the computer-science capstone.
  • “Project Pen and Paper: Operations Research for Prospective Students” by Katie Dyo ‘19, Devon Fulcher ‘19, Alexander Hoffman ‘20, Daniel Maldonado ‘19, and Greg O’Brien ‘19, work that originated in the Operations Research course in Fall 2018 taught by Anthony.
  • “Desirable Behaviors for Companion Bots in First-Person Shooters” by Adina Friedman ‘19, based on her SCOPE 2018 summer research with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.
  • “Evolving Custom Convolutional Neural Network Architectures in SZ-Tetris” by Devon Fulcher ‘19, also based on SCOPE 2018 research with Schrum. This poster won fourth place in the undergraduate poster competition.
  • “Infinite  Art Gallery: A  Game World of Interactively  Evolved Artwork” by Bryan Hollingsworth ‘20, also based on SCOPE 2018 research with Schrum. This poster won third place in the undergraduate poster competition.

Students Boyd, Court, Friedman, Fulcher, Garza, Hoffman, Hollingsworth, and Orbach, as well as Schrum, attended the conference.



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.


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.


  • 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.