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Are Crossword Solvers About to Go the Way of Chess Players?

#artificialintelligence

Nearly 1,300 people spent this past weekend racing to fill little boxes inside larger boxes, ever mindful of spelling, trivia, wordplay, and a ticking clock. They were competitors--newcomers, ardent hobbyists, and elite speed solvers--in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the pastime's most prestigious competition. And most of them got creamed by some software. The annual event, normally set in a packed hotel ballroom with solvers separated by yellow dividers, was virtual this year, pencils swapped for keyboards. After millions of little boxes had been filled, a computer program topped the leaderboard for the first time.


Are Crossword Solvers About to Go the Way of Chess Players?

Slate

Nearly 1,300 people spent this past weekend racing to fill little boxes inside larger boxes, ever mindful of spelling, trivia, wordplay, and a ticking clock. They were competitors--newcomers, ardent hobbyists, and elite speed solvers--in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the pastime's most prestigious competition. And most of them got creamed by some software. The annual event, normally set in a packed hotel ballroom with solvers separated by yellow dividers, was virtual this year, pencils swapped for keyboards. After millions of little boxes had been filled, a computer program topped the leaderboard for the first time.


Sony buys Evo esports tournament

Engadget

In a joint agreement with a company called RTS, Sony has bought the Evolution Championship Series, one of the oldest and longest-running esports tournaments in the world. Sony didn't disclose the terms of the deal but did note it will operate the organization with help from RTS, which is an offshoot of talent management agency Endeavor. According to Sony, Evo co-founders Tom and Tony Cannon will stay on in advisory roles to help continue to guide the organization. "The new partnership is committed to bringing amazing tournaments and competitive gaming experiences back to you this year and beyond," the two said in a joint statement. Last year, Evo was scheduled to go forward as an online-only event but was canceled after co-founder Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar was accused of assaulting a minor.


SXSW 2021: Virtual events with video games and esports serve as charitable plays during COVID-19 pandemic

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

During the coronavirus pandemic, video games haven't just been a good pastime, they have been a pastime for good, too. And the charitable good video games could bring may escalate after COVID-19 concerns pass. The ability of video games to help others is just one of the topics at this week's South By Southwest Festival, which takes place virtually through Saturday. Keynote speakers include former President George W. Bush, voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Tinder CEO Jim Lazone, filmmaker Ava DuVernay ("Selma"), Facebook Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams, Willie Nelson and Keenan Thompson interviewed by Chance the Rapper. In addition to more than 230 conference sessions, the festival will debut 75 new films including "Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free."


Turning the future into a sure win - Journey to AI Blog

#artificialintelligence

From transforming marketing strategies to delivering thrilling and engaging digital fan experiences, find out how sports organisations can adjust to a digital-first future. Explore what’s possible now and how the AI ladder can help you develop the enterprise capabilities required to bring technology-driven initiatives to life. The world is undergoing tremendous change that impacts all industries, and the sports ecosystem is no different. The current health crisis caused training sessions, matches and sports competitions to be postponed or even cancelled entirely, disrupting all the stakeholders in the industry and leaving fans everywhere disconnected from the teams and the sportspeople they love. Now, organisations are left to navigate the implications of these extreme measures, while planning for a future that may look very different from the past. When technology meets sport Sport, in all its forms, is driven by – and produces, in turn – copious amounts of data. Purposefully exploiting that abundance of data can enable sports…


Overwatch League wants to 'level-up' online matches, tournaments for 2021 season

Washington Post - Technology News

Activision Blizzard first created the Overwatch League to be a city-based, international sports league that mirrored format of traditional sports franchises. Teams are set in local markets so fans can support their hometown. But OWL has never been able to fully realize that dream. The pandemic made it impossible to hold live events last season and some franchise owners were counting on ticket sales and local sponsorships to balance their team checkbooks. Ticket sales are one of the few revenue streams from which the league does not withhold a sizable percentage.


Analysis of Evolutionary Program Synthesis for Card Games

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

A genetic algorithm is a search heuristic that aims to find optimal solutions through ideas found in biology. This includes concepts such as survival of the fittest, mutations, crossbreeding, and more, in other words, an evolutionary approach. We previously saw in assignment 1, the performance of such an algorithm in a smaller version of the game CAN'T STOP, here we aim to evaluate the performance of it in the game RACK'O. Evolutionary approach is a method where the goal is to find a solution to a problem iteratively given a initial value. In the context of program synthesis, evolutionary approaches are used to generate a set of rules that is consistent with the game mechanics and this set of rules is expected to perform better than other scripts in the same search space. The set of rules that is obtained using a fitness function that measures how good the set of rules are given a state of the game. We chose to investigate the area of evolutionary approach in program synthesis because it is an interesting method to generate strategies and research using evolutionary approach spans over a multitude of program synthesis problems such as program sketching[1] and guided search for synthesizing programs with high complexity[2].


Newest gig economy job: Host of your own esports tournaments on Fortnite, Madden NFL, other video games

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Esports has become big business. Now, a video game app wants to make esports a "do-it-yourself" enterprise, allowing you to host your own online tournaments. A new tournament mode arrives today on Play One Up, an app launched a year ago to connect players in online matches on Xbox or PlayStation game systems, and let them wager on their skills. Play One Up tournament partners can create and host their own tournaments across games such as Fortnite, Madden NFL, NBA 2K or Call of Duty. Users can choose the game system, bracket size, cost to play and timing of the tournament.


Call of Duty video game tournament Dec. 11 pits US, UK armed forces against each other for charity

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The day before the annual Army-Navy football game, an even larger interservice rivalry will be contested on video game battlefields. The Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) Bowl on Dec. 11 will match teams consisting of esports athletes from each branch of the U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Space Force – as well as members of the United Kingdom's British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy. The matches, played on the recently-released "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War" game, will broadcast live starting at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. "The eight teams representing military branches in the four-hour tournament will each have two popular Call of Duty streamers on board, one serving as captain, and will be coached by a Call of Duty League professional. Well-known streamers joining the teams include Courage, LEGIQN, Huskerrs, Swagg, Espresso, Vikkstar, Tommey, C9Emz, and Spratt. Video games:The new season of'Fortnite' introduces The Mandalorian "We are proud to have the United States and the United Kingdom militaries come together to participate in the C.O.D.E.


Pitting Computers Against Each Other . . . in Chess

Communications of the ACM

For those of us involved in programming computers to play chess, it has been a great adventure. ACM annual tournaments began in 1970 (50 years ago!) and were hosted year after year for a quarter-century by the organization. They were terrific catalysts for progress in the field, and deserve major credit for the eventual 1997 defeat of then-World Champion Garry Kasparov. I feel human intelligence has been vastly overrated. We humans haven't learned how not to fight wars over various explanations of how the universe or man came into being.