Don O'Brien

Don is a programmer and an alumnus of the lab. He lent his skills to bring Stats Invaders (Arena & Schwartz, 2013) and R2 to fruition.

Don has been inventing games and puzzles for years. Every once in a while, he comes up with something other people find interesting. A game he originally called Robot Rampage was published in Germany as "Crash" and more recently as "Manoover" in the US.

After becoming frustrated with computer games that had to cheat in order to be competitive, he wrote the shareware game "Cloak, Dagger and DNA," which used genetic algorithms to evolve computer opponents. The intent was that they would be able to play well against humans playing by the same rules, which was achieved. He wrote a short paper on how it works and somehow managed to get it published in an issue of Game Developer Magazine (Feb/Mar 1996). Every now and then, he hears about a published paper that mentions it as an example of developing AI with genetic algorithms.

Other than his work at Stanford and NASA Ames, he burned through a number of hi-tech startups that didn't go anywhere. Retired now, he’s working on an economic simulation for fun.