School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at KTH

Project description

This project addresses the question of how to elicit and incorporate human feedback in the development of autonomous agents, with a specific focus on the design of believable Non-player Characters (NPCs) in video games. While NPCs typically follow pre-scripted actions or dialogue that can affect gameplay, the gaming industry has a large interest in using AI to increase the autonomy and believability of these characters. We aim to make the following contributions:

  1. Develop novel algorithms that can align human feedback with existing models in an efficient manner. This includes (a) extending existing active and preference learning methods for determining which queries to elicit human input to maximize learning, as well as (b) developing novel human-machine interaction modalities to elicit feedback and obtain as much information as possible from each query.  
  2. Establishment of appropriate benchmarks for evaluating subjective aspects of the learned behaviors (e.g., believability, congruency with the character type/context, etc.), beyond the typical metrics used in task-oriented learning. 
  3. Demonstrate and evaluate our approach with real human feedback in scenarios that can highlight the significance of the developed methods beyond gaming applications. 

The project is financed by the Swedish AI-program WASP (Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program) which offers a graduate school with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers. Although this is an academic research position, the research will be conducted in close collaboration with Electronic Arts.

Third-cycle subject: Computer Science

Supervision: The student would be supervised by Iolanda Leite, Associate Professor at the Division of Robotics, Perception and Learning (RPL) at KTH and co-supervised by Konrad Tollmar, Research Director at Electronic Arts (EA).

What we offer

Admission requirements

To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 § Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a second cycle degree (for example a master's degree), or
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 second-cycle higher education credits, or
  • acquired, in some other way within or outside the country, substantially equivalent knowledge

In addition to the above, there is also a mandatory requirement for English equivalent to English B/6, read more here


In order to succeed as a doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. During the selection process, candidates will be assessed upon their ability to:

  • independently pursue his or her work
  • collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.

The candidate must have a degree in Computer Science or related fields. Documented written and spoken English and programming skills are required. Experience with robotics, human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction and machine learning are important.

After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal competency. 

Target degree: Doctoral degree

Information regarding admission and employment

Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as a doctoral student. The total length of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education in four years ' time. An employed doctoral student can, to a limited extent (maximum 20%), perform certain tasks within their role, e.g. training and administration. A new position as a doctoral student is for a maximum of one year, and then the employment may be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time. In the case of studies that are to be completed with a licentiate degree, the total period of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education for two years.

Union representatives

You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website.

Doctoral section (Students’ union on KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

You will find contact information for doctoral section on the section's website.

To apply for the position

Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/Central European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copies of diplomas and grades from previous university studies and certificates of fulfilled language requirements (see above). Translations into English or Swedish if the original document is not issued in one of these languages.Copies of originals must be certified.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.

Other information

Striving towards gender equality, diversity and equal conditions is both a question of quality for KTH and a given part of our values.

For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process please read here.

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.



Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment As soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student salary agreement
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number J-2023-1554
  • Iolanda Leite,
  • Lilly Engfeldt,
Published 08.Jun.2023
Last application date 01.Sep.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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