Photo of James Ryan

James Ryan

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Computer Science

Education & Professional History

University of Minnesota, BA, MS; University of California, Santa Cruz, MS, PhD

I’m thrilled to be spending the 2020–21 and 2021–22 academic years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Carleton. My research is situated in the emerging area of computational media, where I work at the intersection of artificial intelligence, art, and entertainment. I’m interested in exploring how AI techniques from social simulation, natural language processing, and computational narrative can be leveraged to enable media experiences that are fundamentally new in kind, such as Bad News and Sheldon County. This mode of inquiry entails technical work to advance the state of the art in these areas, and creative work to build proof-of-concept media artifacts that demonstrate new possibilities afforded by the technical advances. I’m also working to help establish the nascent research area of computational media archaeology. Here, I aim to discover and celebrate forgotten pioneering work, from the early decades of computing, that harnessed AI for creative and expressive purposes. In pursuit of this agenda, I excavate the intellectual and technical contexts in which such projects emerged, and in some cases I attempt to rebuild defunct systems to gain a deeper understanding of how they worked.

If you’re a Carleton student who’s interested in collaborating on this kind of research, please send me an email. I’d love to work with you!


At Carleton since 2020.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Click here for a complete list of publications and presentations.

James Ryan. “CBS Televised Computer-Generated Stories in 1960—and Ten Million Watched!” !!Con 2020. 2020.

James Ryan. Curating Simulated Storyworlds. PhD thesis, UC Santa Cruz. 2018.

James Ryan. “Grimes’ Fairy Tales: A 1960s Story Generator.” International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. 2017.

James Ryan, Eric Kaltman, Michael Mateas, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Games: Bottom-Up Game Studies Using Natural Language Processing.” International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. 2015.

James Ryan, Michael Mateas, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. “Open Design Challenges for Interactive Emergent Narrative.” International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. 2015.

Current Courses

  • Fall 2021
    CS 111: Introduction to Computer Science
  •  
    CS 251: Programming Languages: Design and Implementation
  • Winter 2022
    CS 251: Programming Languages: Design and Implementation
  •  
    CS 254: Computability and Complexity
  • Spring 2022
    CS 111: Introduction to Computer Science
  •  
    CS 254: Computability and Complexity