Daniel Hernandez

Self-play training in multiagent systems
University of York
Daniel Hernandez Profile
Tell us a bit about yourself – what stage of your PhD are you in and what’s your project about?
I am on the third year of my PhD. My PhD has reached the point in which I have caught up with the state-of-the art in my field, and I have developed the toolset required to expand our understanding of self-play training in multiagent systems. Self-play refers to a training schemes for AI in multiagent systems (say, videogames), for which it is unknown how to act optimally. That is, a way of training AIs on a game such that they improve overtime by play against themselves or previous versions of themselves.

What does a typical day or week look like for you?
During the week I wake up around 10-11am and head to the office, where I spend most of my day. I do have a guitar and a console in the office, so it is a rather cozy environment to work in. I work hard, and many days I leave the office around 11pm, then I get home, cook, and head to bed.

What’s one thing that you’ve enjoyed the most during your PhD?
The freedom of choosing when and where to work. I have traveled a lot across Europe and abroad, and knowing that I can work from Athens or Osaka, as long as I have internet connection, is a great source of pleasure.


What’s been the most challenging part of it?
Figuring out what to do at certain points, what papers to read, what experiment to design. Deciding on what would make for a meaningful contribution is hard, with loads of dead ends. It’s easy to forget that everyone goes through that, because only good results are published, and they don’t tell you about the myriad of things that went wrong.

Where do you see yourself 5 years after completing your PhD?
I would like to see myself as a research engineer in a company. Industry is a nice environment for my kind of research, it has resources and solves really interesting problems.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer students that are thinking of doing a PhD?
Think of a really motivating reason as to why you want to do the PhD. And remind yourself of it. If it doesn’t ring true, don’t take the PhD. If it does, go ahead. And don’t forget it. Dark times ahead, but also times of enlightenment!

What makes your university a good place to study?
The PhD programme I am part of (IGGI) has a really nice atmosphere amongst PhD students, which is truly appreciated.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Playing music, dancing, playing games and writing.

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