Jonathan Schaeffer, PhD





  • B.Sc., Computer Science, University of Toronto, 1979
  • M.Math, Computer Science, University of Waterloo, 1980
  • Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Waterloo, 1986


  • Dean of Science (2012-2018)
  • Vice Provost and Associate Vice President (Information Technology) (2008-2012)
  • Chair, Computing Science (2005-2008)



Artificial Intelligence
Computer Games


I am interested in anything to do with heuristic search (such as single-agent (A*) and two-player (alpha-beta) search). Single-agent search has important industrial applications including planning problems and optimization problems.

We work on commercial games with our partners Electronic Arts and BioWare. Some of the problems we are looking at are AI scripting, path-finding, earning, and testing. We have applied our work to role-playing games, sports games and real-time strategy games.

I am co-founder of Onlea (, the world's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) production company. Our mission is to create "Mindful online learning crafted with scholarship, creativity and quality." We strive to achieve the highest possible engagement, completion and retention rates in all of our products.


CMPUT 174 - Introduction to the Foundations of Computation I

CMPUT 174 and 175 use a problem-driven approach to introduce the fundamental ideas of Computing Science. Emphasis is on the underlying process behind the solution, independent of programming language or style. Basic notions of state, control flow, data structures, recursion, modularization, and testing are introduced through solving simple problems in a variety of domains such as text analysis, map navigation, game search, simulation, and cryptography. Students learn to program by reading and modifying existing programs as well as writing new ones. No prior programming experience is necessary. Prerequisite: Math 30, 30-1, or 30- 2. See Note (1) above. Credit cannot be obtained for CMPUT 174 if credit has already been obtained for CMPUT 274 or 275, except with permission of the Department.

Fall Term 2022

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