Gaming Research Intership at Microsoft (PhD required)


Major Nelson, the Xbox 360 spokesperson and Xbox Live Director of Programming, blogged about an opportunity of a lifetime for gaming doctoral students. Oxymoron? I beg to differ. But first, do you understand the following?

trueskill algorithm

That’s the actual algorithm used for the “Xbox Live TrueSkill system” (read more or listen to his interview about the TrueSkill system). Online gaming is a huge chunk of business (now bigger than Hollywood!) and figuring out the best way to rank players would be paramount to supporting a dedicated gaming community. Think about it: It’s not just about raking up high scores here; there are many social factors that contribute to how a player should be ranked (i.e. accounting for assists, team killers, cheating penalties)

That said, this is Microsoft’s squeal about the incredulous intership:

You are currently doing a PhD and think you can improve the TrueSkill system? You always dreamt of working on video games related research? Why don’t you apply for an internship with Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK! We are currently seeking to fill an internship position for summer 2006. Together with Ralf Herbrich and Thore Graepel, you would be working for 3 months (any time between May 2006 and September 2006) on extensions of the TrueSkill system. Here are the requirements for application:

You are on a PhD course in computer science, engineering, physics or related fields.
You are strong background in mathematics and/or (Bayesian) statistics.
You have experience in coding (C# or MATLAB, preferably both).
If you meet all of the above criteria and you are interested, please send your CV to

By the way, Bayesian statistics is really awesome stuff… it’s what powers a lot of our email spam filters and is essentially a learning algorithm. Man, I’m so excited for the candidate who’s going to get the job!

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