How poker and other games help artificial intelligence evolve

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When he was growing up in Ohio, his parents were avid card players, dealing out hands of everything from euchre to gin rummy. Meanwhile, he and his friends would tear up board games lying around the family home and combine the pieces to make their own games, with new challenges and new markers for victory. Bowling has come far from his days of playing with colourful cards and plastic dice. He has three degrees in computing science and is now a professor at the University of Alberta. But, in his heart, Bowling still loves playing games.


Checkers computer becomes invincible

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An invincible checkers-playing program named Chinook has solved a game whose origins date back several millennia, scientists reported Thursday on the journal Science's Web site. By playing out every possible move -- about 500 billion billion in all -- the computer proved it can never be beaten. Even if its opponent also played flawlessly, the outcome would be a draw. Chinook, created by computer scientists from the University of Alberta in 1989, wrapped up its work less than three months ago. In doing so, its programmers say the newly crowned checkers king has solved the most challenging game yet cracked by a machine -- even outdoing the chess-playing wizardry of IBM's Deep Blue.


Articles

AI Magazine

Samuel's successes included a victory by his program over a master-level player. In fact, the opponent was not a master, and Samuel himself had no illusions about his program's strength. This single event, a milestone in AI, was magnified out of proportion by the media and helped to create the impression that checkers was a solved game. Nevertheless, his work stands as a major achievement in machine learning and AI. Since 1950, the checkers world has been dominated by Tinsley.


Man Versus Machine for the World Checkers Championship

AI Magazine

In August 1992, the world checkers champion, Marion Tinsley, defended his title against the computer program CHINOOK. Because of its success in human tournaments, CHINOOK had earned the right to play for the world championship. Tinsley won the best-of-40-game match with a score of 4 wins, 2 losses, and 33 draws. This event was the first time in history that a program played for a human world championship and might be a prelude to what is to come in chess. This article tells the story of the first Man versus Machine World Championship match.


U of A GAMES Group Home Page

AITopics Original Links

Some of these programs include Chinook (checkers), Logistello (Othello), YL and Mona (Lines of Action), SoftWari (Awari), Queenbee, Wolve and MoHex (Hex), and Poki (poker). Chinook was the first computer program to win an official World Championship in a game of skill. This includes improvements to alpha-beta search efficiency, and new approaches to minimax search control. We are investigating new methods for discovering and using heuristic knowledge, such as data mining endgame databases for automatic feature identification and tuning of evaluation functions. This research includes probabilistic evaluation techniques, risk assessment, betting strategies, and opponent modeling.