Collaborating Authors

A Gamut of Games

AI Magazine

In 1950, Claude Shannon published his seminal work on how to program a computer to play chess. Since then, developing game-playing programs that can compete with (and even exceed) the abilities of the human world champions has been a long-sought-after goal of the AI research community. In Shannon's time, it would have seemed unlikely that only a scant 50 years would be needed to develop programs that play world-class backgammon, checkers, chess, Othello, and Scrabble. These remarkable achievements are the result of a better understanding of the problems being solved, major algorithmic insights, and tremendous advances in hardware technology. Computer games research is one of the important success stories of AI.

Genetic Algorithms for Mentor-Assisted Evaluation Function Optimization Machine Learning

In this paper we demonstrate how genetic algorithms can be used to reverse engineer an evaluation function's parameters for computer chess. Our results show that using an appropriate mentor, we can evolve a program that is on par with top tournament-playing chess programs, outperforming a two-time World Computer Chess Champion. This performance gain is achieved by evolving a program with a smaller number of parameters in its evaluation function to mimic the behavior of a superior mentor which uses a more extensive evaluation function. In principle, our mentor-assisted approach could be used in a wide range of problems for which appropriate mentors are available.

Simulating Human Grandmasters: Evolution and Coevolution of Evaluation Functions Machine Learning

This paper demonstrates the use of genetic algorithms for evolving a grandmaster-level evaluation function for a chess program. This is achieved by combining supervised and unsupervised learning. In the supervised learning phase the organisms are evolved to mimic the behavior of human grandmasters, and in the unsupervised learning phase these evolved organisms are further improved upon by means of coevolution. While past attempts succeeded in creating a grandmaster-level program by mimicking the behavior of existing computer chess programs, this paper presents the first successful attempt at evolving a state-of-the-art evaluation function by learning only from databases of games played by humans. Our results demonstrate that the evolved program outperforms a two-time World Computer Chess Champion.

Optimizing Selective Search in Chess Artificial Intelligence

In this paper we introduce a novel method for automatically tuning the search parameters of a chess program using genetic algorithms. Our results show that a large set of parameter values can be learned automatically, such that the resulting performance is comparable with that of manually tuned parameters of top tournament-playing chess programs.