Keynote speakers

Georgios N Yannakakis

Professor and Director: Institute of Digital Games. University of Malta

AI and Games: Seriously Yours

Recent years have seen artificial intelligence (AI) outperforming us in tasks we have mastered through millennia of evolution. Drawing on the importance of the relationship between AI and games this talk will address the following questions: How did games help AI in that endeavour? In turn, how can AI help us make better games? Is it possible that AI improves serious game design and supports game-based learning and training? The talk will take us through a number of AI and Games projects currently running at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta, and

Biography: Georgios N. Yannakakis is a Professor and Director of the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta, and the co-founder of He does research at the crossroads of artificial intelligence, computational creativity, affective computing, advanced game technology, and human-computer interaction. He has published over 260 journal and conference papers. His research has been supported by numerous national and European grants (including a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship) and has appeared in Science Magazine and New Scientist, among other venues. He has been involved in a number of journal editorial boards; he is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Games and the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation and was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing between 2009 and 2017. He has been the General Chair of key conferences in the area of game artificial intelligence (IEEE CIG 2010) and games research (FDG 2013, FDG 2020). He is the co-author of the Artificial Intelligence and Games textbook and the co-organiser of the Artificial Intelligence and Games summer school series.

Yuri Quintana

Chief, Division of Clinical Informatics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Art and Science of Serious Games: A Systems Approach to Scaling Solutions to Global Health Challenges

Serious games have evolved from single applications for individual users to more engaging applications connecting with other players and using wearable technologies. While some significant advances have been made, many of our large-scale global health challenges will require a systems approach to implement transformational change. Among our global health challenges is a growing elderly population that will require more support for aging-in-place with remote monitoring and engaging technologies. Chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes have reach pandemic levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most significant health crisis in our generation, with ongoing challenges for health behavior changes by individuals, health care providers, and government leaders. This talk will explore how serious games can be scaled using co-design approaches that create innovative solutions that incorporate innovative technologies and large-scale behavior change by creating networked games that connect multi-stakeholder communities in collaborative games. We will explore both the art of game design and the science of evaluating these systems and discuss health and social change areas that need urgent attention.

Biography: Yuri Quintana, Ph.D., is Chief of the Division of Clinical Informatics Beth Israel Lahey Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University. His research is focused on developing innovative technologies that empower patients, families, and health professionals. He is leading the development of global health networks such as InfosSAGE for home-based eldercare coordination ([] and Alicanto Cloud (, an online learning and collaboration network used by health professionals at Harvard affiliated hospitals such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Cancer, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's JWEL Center for sharing best practices in education. With Homewood Research Institute in Canada, where he is a Collaborating Scientist, he has developed new methods to evaluate digital mental health systems using evidence-based approaches. Previously, he developed a global pediatric cancer education and collaboration website used by thousands of health professionals and an interactive mobile app and website for promoting healthy lifestyles for children. Quintana was a principal investigator in the Canadian HealNet Research Network and served as director of the New Media Research Lab, developing interactive media and online education innovations. He has held high-tech positions at IBM and Watcom. Quintana obtained his engineering degrees from the University of Waterloo in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Systems Design Engineering. More at and on Twitter at @yuriquintana.

Nabil Zary

Director of the Institute for Excellence in Health Professions Education (ieHPE) and Professor of Medical Education at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai

Serious Games for Health: Research Trends, Implementation Models, and its role in Academic Health Systems

This talk addresses the topic of serious games from three perspectives – research, impact, and health systems. First, we will present and discuss key research trends on serious games for health and propose areas that require further attention. Second, we will share lessons learned from developing a large-scale serious games research and innovation center – from ideation, implementation, impact to sustainability. Finally, we will identify and discuss the potential and role of serious games in the context of academic health systems.

Biography: Dr. Nabil Zary is the Director of the Institute for Excellence in Health Professions Education (ieHPE) and Professor of Medical Education at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai. Nabil obtained both his Medical Degree and Doctorate Degree from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.  He began his career as Technical Director, Wallenberg Global Learning Network at Stanford University, United States, in 2000.  Over the following years, he assumed various roles ranging from Assistant to Associate Professorship in Medical Education in Sweden, USA, and Singapore. Nabil served as the Founding Technical Director of gAmes for HeaLth InnoVations CentrE (ALIVE) in Singapore. Nabil has done extensive digital health and education research that focuses on emerging technologies like AI, simulation-based and immersive learning, serious games in medical education, and medical simulation. He currently serves as the editor in chief of JMIR Serious Games. More at and on Twitter at @nzary