Demis Hassabis


Demis Hassabis is the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind. He is a British artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist, video game designer, entrepreneur, and five times winner of the Pentamind board games championship. He is the chief executive officer, co-founder of DeepMind and Isomorphic Labs, and a UK Government AI Advisor.

Hassabis was born to a Greek Cypriot father and a Chinese Singaporean mother and grew up in North London. A child prodigy in chess from 4, Hassabis reached the master standard at 13 with an Elo rating of 2300 and captained many of the England junior chess teams. He represented the University of Cambridge in the Oxford-Cambridge varsity chess matches of 1995, 1996, and 1997 winning a half-blue.

Hassabis was briefly home-schooled by his parents, during which time he bought his first computer, a ZX Spectrum 48K funded from chess winnings, and taught himself how to program from books. He was educated at Christ's College, Finchley, a state-funded comprehensive school in East Finchley, North London. He completed his A-level and scholarship-level exams two years early, at 15 and 16, respectively.

Asked by Cambridge University to take a gap year due to his young age, Hassabis began his computer games career at Bullfrog Productions, first-level designing on Syndicate, and then at 17, co-designing and leading programming on the 1994 game Theme Park, with the game's designer Peter Molyneux. Theme Park, a simulation video game, sold over ten million copies and won a Golden Joystick Award, and inspired a whole genre of simulation sandbox games. He earned enough from his gap year to pay his way through university.