Bridge


Computer Bridge

AI Magazine

A computer program that uses AI planning techniques is now the world champion computer program in the game of Contract Bridge. As reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, this program--a new version of Great Game Products' The classical approach used in AI programs for games of strategy is to do a game tree search using the well-known minimax formula (eq. 1) The minimax computation is basically a bruteforce search: If implemented as formulated here, it would examine every node in the game tree. In practical implementations of minimax game tree searching, a number of techniques are used to improve the efficiency of this computation: putting a bound on the depth of the search, using alpha-beta pruning, doing transposition-table lookup, and so on. However, even with enhancements such as these, minimax computations often involve examining huge numbers of nodes in the game tree. Because a Bridge hand is typically played in just a few minutes, there is not enough time for a game tree search to search enough of this tree to make good decisions.


World Champion Bridge Program

AITopics Original Links

Bridge Baron is a computer program that plays bridge. It won the 1997 world championship of computer bridge, the Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, as reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post. The five-day competition, which was hosted by the American Contract Bridge League in July 1997, included five computer programs, from the US, Japan, and Germany. The Bridge Baron won every head-to-head match that it played against the other programs.


GIB: Imperfect Information in a Computationally Challenging Game

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper investigates the problems arising in the construction of a program to play the game of contract bridge. These problems include both the difficulty of solving the game's perfect information variant, and techniques needed to address the fact that bridge is not, in fact, a perfect information game. GIB, the program being described, involves five separate technical advances: partition search, the practical application of Monte Carlo techniques to realistic problems, a focus on achievable sets to solve problems inherent in the Monte Carlo approach, an extension of alpha-beta pruning from total orders to arbitrary distributive lattices, and the use of squeaky wheel optimization to find approximately optimal solutions to cardplay problems. GIB is currently believed to be of approximately expert caliber, and is currently the strongest computer bridge program in the world.


Collusion Detection in Online Bridge

AAAI Conferences

Collusion is a major unsolved security problem in online bridge: by illicitly exchanging card information over the telephone, instant messenger or the like, cheaters can gain huge advantages over honest players. It is very hard if not impossible to prevent collusion from happening. Instead, we motivate an AI-based detection approach and discuss its challenges. We challenge the AI community to create automated methods for detecting collusive traces left in game records with an accuracy that can be achieved by human masters.


Strategic Planning for Imperfect-Information

AAAI Conferences

Although game-tree search works well in perfectinformation games, there are problems in trying to use it for imperfect-information games such as bridge. The lack of knowledge about the opponents' possible moves gives the game tree a very large branching factor, making the ree so immense that game-tree searching is infeasible. In this paper, we describe our approach for overcoming this problem. We develop a model of imperfect-information games, and describe how to represent information about the game using a modified version of a task network that is extended to represent multi-agency and uncertainty. We present a game-playing procedure that uses this approach to generate game trees in which the set of alternative choices is determined not by the set of possible actions, but by the set of available tactical and strategic schemes.


Control Strategies in HTN Planning: Theory Versus Practice

AAAI Conferences

AI planning techniques are beginning to find use in a number of practical planning domains. However, the backward-chaining and partial-order-planning control strategies traditionally used in AI planning systems are not necessarily the best ones to use for practical planning problems. In this paper, we discuss some of the difficulties that can result from the use of backward chaining and partial-order planning, and we describe how these difficulties can be overcome by adapting Hierarchical Task-Network (HTN) planning to use a total-order control strategy that generates the steps of a plan in the same order that those steps will be executed. We also examine how introducing the total-order restriction into HTN planning affects its expressive power, and propose a way to relax the total-order restriction to increase its expressive power and range of applicability.


Success in Spades: Using AI Planning Techniques to Win the World Championship of Computer Bridge

AAAI Conferences

The latest world-championship competition for computer bridge programs was the Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, hosted in July 1997 by the American Contract Bridge League. As reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, the competition's winner was a new version of Great Game Products' Bridge Baron program. This version, Bridge Baron 8, has since gone on the market; and during the last three months of 1997 it was purchased by more than 1000 customers. The Bridge Baron's success also represents a significant success for research on AI planning systems, because Bridge Baron 8 uses Hierarchical Task-Network (HTN) planning techniques to plan its declarer play. This paper gives an overview of those techniques and how they are used.


Total-Order R/plti-Agent Task-Network Planning for Contract Bridge

AAAI Conferences

Tignum 2 is a computer system for declarer play at the game of contract bridge. Tignum 2 currently performs better at declarer play than the strongest commercially available program. ' On 5000 randomly generated deals (including both suit contracts and notrump contracts), *This material is based on work supported in part by an AT&T Ph.D. scholarship to Stephen J. J. Smith, by Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant 501.15, by Great Game Products, by ARPA grant DABT 63-95-C-0037, and by the National Science Foundation under Grants NSF EEC 94-02384 and IRI-9306580. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders. 'It is probably safe to say that the Bridge Baron is the best program in the world for declarer play at contract bridge.


Computer Bridge: A Big Win for AI Planning

AI Magazine

A computer program that uses AI planning techniques is now the world champion computer program in the game of Contract Bridge. As reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, this program -- a new version of Great Game Products' BRIDGE BARON program -- won the Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, an international competition hosted in July 1997 by the American Contract Bridge League. It is well known that the game tree search techniques used in computer programs for games such as Chess and Checkers work differently from how humans think about such games. This article gives an overview of the planning techniques that we have incorporated into the BRIDGE BARON and discusses what the program's victory signifies for research on AI planning and game playing.


Computer Bridge: A Big Win for AI Planning

AI Magazine

A computer program that uses AI planning techniques is now the world champion computer program in the game of Contract Bridge. As reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, this program -- a new version of Great Game Products' BRIDGE BARON program -- won the Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, an international competition hosted in July 1997 by the American Contract Bridge League. It is well known that the game tree search techniques used in computer programs for games such as Chess and Checkers work differently from how humans think about such games. In contrast, our new version of the BRIDGE BARON emulates the way in which a human might plan declarer play in Bridge by using an adaptation of hierarchical task network planning. This article gives an overview of the planning techniques that we have incorporated into the BRIDGE BARON and discusses what the program's victory signifies for research on AI planning and game playing.