About

I’m Samuel (Sam) Sarjant. This is my professional(ish) website outlining my various lifetime achievements and projects.

I am employed at the University of Waikato as a Research Fellow working on a Marsden-funded automated ontology-building project. The aim is to develop a number of heuristics for feeding in information and using the wealth of information to disambiguate, test, and present to users millions of assertions and concepts representing things in the world around us. The primary output will be a website in which users can pose queries, view concepts, and provide feedback to the algorithm, improving the information stored within (sort of Wikipedia-like, in that aspect).

During this Research Fellow position, I also lecture part time. I teach 50% of the level 3 Artificial Intelligence course, and 50% of the level 3 Graphics and Computer Games courses.

I have completed my PhD in Computer Science at The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand researching in the field of relational reinforcement learning. The title of my research is ‘Policy Search Based Relational Reinforcement Learning using the Cross-Entropy Method’. This research is focused on the development of a policy-search algorithm dubbed CERRLA (Cross-Entropy Relational Reinforcement Learning Agent).

On the side, I have developed a few video games: casual XNA & Unity games during the Global Game Jam, and two contracted for Asthma Waikato (see Portfolio). Ideally I’ll be posting more contracted/personal game projects as time goes on.

Check out my GitHub where most of my code for major projects go.

Research interests include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Reinforcement learning (Relational)
  • Natural language processing
  • Ontologies and The Semantic Web
  • Machine learning
  • Procedural content generation
Other interests include:
  • Metal! (The music genre)
  • Board games (or more specifically Eurogames)
  • Video games (I will always be a gamer at heart…)
  • Tabletop role-playing games (D&D, Dungeon World, etc.)
  • Martial arts
  • Wielding novelty umbrellas on campus (that was an interesting day…)

I also run the University of Waikato Boardgaming Club where numerous board game lovers meet every week on campus for a night of boardgaming.

A list of my publications can be found here.