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Rules-Unknown Artificial Intelligence Competition

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the sorry-not-as-much-as-for-solving-poe-codes dept.

Games 176

OOglyDOOde writes: "This link points to a competition being hosted by a company that makes research on artificial intelligence. The task? Build a program that can play a number of games whose rules are totally unknown -- and earn the best score while competing against various opponents. Your program is told the possible choices available, when it should make a move, what did the opponent do; and what was your score for the last turn. There are no entry fees yet there is a cash prize. Submissions can be done in various languages, or in Linux or Windows binaries." This is certainly one of the odder ones I've ever seen, but has interesting prizes (trip to Israel) and rules (fairly broad entry categories).

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My Statistics Professor Has Already Done This (5, Insightful)

omnirealm (244599) | more than 13 years ago | (#2109608)

I took a statistics course at BYU. My professor, Dr. Tolley, with the help of his "31337" kids, built an AI system that played Quake. Each possible move was designated as a random variable, and each random variable was weighted according to its success in keeping the player alive and killing the other player. The code would randomly try different actions with the game interface (walk forward, fire weapon, duck, etc.), and then register what worked and what didn't. At first, the computer-controlled player would just stand there. After getting blown apart a few times, it would start jumping to the left, and then ducking, etc. Eventually, it "learned" that it had its greatest chance for survival if it immediately ducked and went behind a box. It then learned to wait until someone walked around a corner, and then it would fire its weapon in the direction of the corner. Finally, it learned that coordinates of the game contained the "respawning" positions, and upon fragging the opponent, it would run to the next respawning point and wait until the player showed up there, blowing him away upon entry into the game.

This code could be similarly adapted to any game, inasmuch as the code can register a table with all the possible moves provided by the interface. It doesn't even have to know what those moves do; it only needs to know if, by doing certain moves according the "state" (or the attributes) of the game, it gains points (or stays alive or whatever) or loses points. The moves are then given a distribution weighting factor. Then, the algorithm just needs to approximate the game state with the registered table entries, determine which moves have the highest "survival rate" based on the current game attributes, and then perform those moves.

Depending on the game, it may take a long time before the random variable distribution table gets populated to the point where the algorithm can make "intelligent" decisions, but it works nonetheless.

You know what...? (-1, Offtopic)

Phil Linngood (220427) | more than 13 years ago | (#2110145)


guess what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2127613)

chicken butt.

Can it be? (-1)

Pr0n K1ng (160688) | more than 13 years ago | (#2110146)

Two in a row? I think so!

Get it in ya!

Re:Can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2122172)

i think not

Re:Can it be? (-1)

asbestos_diaper (456125) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135036)

hey there poop for brains! I guess you missed that one, and now you have exposed yourself as a complete fool!


Even if I could write this program i wouldn't... (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2111365)

...for all I know the crazy Israeli army/government will use the code to write programs to further their inhumane agenda. Think about it for a second. Where should we move our tanks, guns, planes and other US Tax payer supported weapons to target the Palestinians.

Going through UN archives or resolutions, even the United Nations condemns Israel for taking the land by force the way they did. And what's more ridiculous, is that now they say "You palestinian's shouldn't fight us, we're ready to make peace on our Israeli terms". Ridiculous! That's like me walking into Taco's home and kicking his butt out and then when he fights back, I cry to all of Slashdot saying he is psychotic. And when that's over, I tell him that he can live in the mulch pile in the back which I sleep in his room.

I know this message will get moderated down to -1, and is it doesn't people will sit here an attack me. Both sides have done wrong, I just think the people who started it (Israeli's) should take their stuff and walk away. Didn't the holocaust help them realize anything? What's ironic is that the holocaust of 21st century is being conducted by the Israeli's and our US taxpayer money supports them with weapons!

Ultimate lameness...!

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 13 years ago | (#2115569)

My, my. Aren't we just a tad bitter?
Being kicked out of your country got you down? ;)

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2139412)

right on brother.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2139413)

Please dont talk about something you dont know shit about.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2115474)

I agree with the orginial poster and his/her opinions. I would have probably written a harsher and therefore truer to reality statement against the Israeli government and IDF. My entire family was ruthlessly murdered by them.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2139955)

Yeh. Those evil Israaeli's, picking on poor little arabs whose religion (cult?) just so happens to demand that they utterly destroy Israel and jews in general. I mean, why not instead invite the palestinians over for milk and cookies? The israelis have never made it priority 1 to genocide palestinians, and there is evidence that suggests they'd rather be doing other things. Hmm. Do you think that maybe its the palestinians, that provoke all this?

Think about it. The israelis, when they go after some palestinian, or take action, it's always after some crime has been committed. They go after those that they have a reasonable suspicion of causing it (most of the time, but there are abuses). They don't go out and shoot 10 random palestinians. On the other hand, what else can you call it, when the palestinians blow up a crowded street? They surely can't hope to take out specific targets, so they can't be going after specific enemies. They are more or less randomly killing israelies, regardless of any percieved crime or guilt.

For the israelis, there will never be peace until all palestinians are dead, and yet they hesitate to kill them all. Does anyone doubt they have the military might to do so? And if they don't, doesn't that attest to their general decency?

For the palestinians, there could be peace with the israelis alive. Sure, I bet some palestinians would be harassed, even if they are innocent of crimes (though I'm not sure there are any like that). Yet the palestinians never hesitate to take action that leads to their primary goal, which is the genocide of the israelis and other jewish people. Doesn't that say something to you?

And one other thing. Don't you think it's funny that Arafat gives speeches to arab audiences, where he points out places in the Koran that say its ok to pretend peace with your enemy, as long as it gives you time to build an army to destroy them? That's not even subtle folks.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2110584)

Fundamentalist Christians don't like Jews much either (or indeed anyone who doesn't agree with their religion), but Jews in the US don't use that as an excuse to go around killing fundamentalist Christians.

Just because someone hates you idelogically, that's no reason to treat them like shit.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2115475)

But they don't blow up sinagogues. If they did, and did it consistently, every single day, and if there would no way to single out those who did, then the FBI would go around arresting and if fired at, killing fundamentalist Christians. Which is exactly what IDF does. Palestinians excell at putting children in the front line before the gunmen and then blaiming israelis for using rubber bullets. The international community is fast to blaim israel for bombing a Hammas building because two children were killed as well as two heads of the hammas terrorist organisation, yet when US bombards Yugoslavian cities, it's ok, after all they are protecting peacefull kosovars. Well guess what, Israel is protecting the peacefull citizens of Israel. Our roads are not safe since this october, almost every day more than one shooting incident (that is by palestinians), but you will only hear about it when they succeed in killing more than 10 of us at one time (like the bombing in tel-aviv). But the fact that we are successfull in stoping them before they bomb us is somehow our guilt? I'd like to see you suggest some solution instead of bashing. What do you want us to do? In camp-david we gave it all, and they didn't take, nor suggested any alternatives. In Lebanon we retreated to the exact line the UN resolution requested, UN has confirmed it, yet the hizbollah continues it's attacks on Israel, and since then have kidnapped 3 israely soldiers (from israel's soil) and 1 citizen. It seems that even executing UN resolutions to their letters isn't satisfactory to the other side. Don't forget also, these lands you call occupied where occupied as a result of war that we didn't start nor wanted. In 1948 Israel accepted the division plan by UN, but was invaded by it's neighbour's armies. The result of that was that when war ended, Israel had more land than at the beginning, but arab countries have only themselve to blame for that. Palestinian refugees from 1948 were not accepted by arab countries and still don't have citizenship of the countries they reside in. All this in order to use them as a political card against Israel. Now palestinians want to create their own country, but want their diaspora to be settled in Israel! Don't you think that's a little bit contradictory? What would you said if with the creation of Israel, israel would demand that all countries from which Jews were expelled during the hollaucost (sp) would accept jewish refugees and grant them citizenship? Instead israel has accepted it's diaspora and embraced it within itself. The palestinians are persuing a separatist act, yet they complain that we don't let them in to work in Israel? Do you want independence or don't you? The world demands that Israel stops executing terrorists without trial, yet last week 3 palestinians who were suspected in aiding israel were shot by palestinian authority without trial, and another 3 were sentenced in 10-minutes trial to death. Do you complain about that too? Why don't you? To sum this long rant up: Please, if you don't understand the things you talk about, shut up. The issues at hand are more complex than they come through pictures on BBC or CNN. Also keep in mind, that palestinians don't let journalists to make a free coverage, and most pictures you see are shot by palestinian free-lancers, who despite being journalists, are not impartial, and can and do cut out whatever makes palestinians look bad.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2119599)

c'mon.. palestinians have every right to fight back.. it was their land in the first place before israelis came over with tanks.. and history has it that jews,muslims and christians actually lived together PEACEFULLY before the crusades in jerusalem.. i don't think there is any such clause in any religion that tells you to kill thy neighbour..

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2117369)

No one has the right to murder innocents to promote a political agenda. The israelis are hardly guilty of invading the land, as the original poster suggested.

You may be right about the history, no idea. Maybe if I don't learn it, I'll be doomed to relive that peace.

The particular flavor of Islam that arafat and his cronies preach, tells them to kill their enemy, and that only by doing that can they reach heaven.(Actually, it says to genocide the enemy, leave not one alive. Look it up, if you don't believe me) For whatever reason, they picked the israelis to be that enemy. Proximity=convenience? Bad choice IMO though... Generally, when picking a fight, you don't insult someone that can obviously kick your ass.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2115466)

I think you need to read some UN resolution which directly condemn israel for taking palestinian land...

One of a hundred resolutions here [un.org]

There are hundreds more. The original poster is most likely claiming what the rest of the world and the United Nations all know and believe. How was Israel created in your opinion? The land was empty and they walked in? Lets hear it so we can all point you to the historical documents you need to read so that you understand that Israel not only invaded the land but they murdered for it.

Are you that arrogant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2133795)

The Israeli's can't "kick" anyone's ass. They are cowards that hide behind their weapons. If the Israeli's were that good, they'd exterminate every palestinian out there. They can't though. The world already knows and believes that the Israeli's are at fault. And no religion preaches anything about purposefully killing another person. Why do you try to pin the blame on Islam? What you are seeing is a fight behind the desire to live and see the sun rise again the next day.

Its people like you that are so blind to the real situation that you let the inhumanity continue. Do some research before talking out of your ***.

Re:Even if I could write this program i wouldn't.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2127670)

I think you completely missed the point of what I wrote above. There was a time when all 3 people of the major faiths lived together, why is there a problem now?

Let me give you a quick "timeline" of the problem and show you why your post is just a rehash of what I read in the papers.

1. Palestinians call the land of current day israel home (more than a century ago) --> 2. The land where Israel is taken and the native palestinians forced out of their land/homes (close to 50 years ago) --> 3. Misc Battles and skirmishes --> 4. Israeli attacks --> 5. palestinians attack/defend

You're post would make sense if the timeline started at #5. Unfortunately, you can't blame the palestinians for their desire to have their homes back. The timeline starts at #1, and quite frankly (and the UN of most of the nations of this earth agree) that Israel provoked the attacks when they savagely killed and took away the land of the palestinians.

Answer this, if today the an outside force came into Tel Aviv and threw out every Israeli public official and told the locals to move out, wouldn't the Israeli's have a field day with it? Wouldn't they cry injustice? Wouldn't they use their weapons against the "barbarians" trying to take their homes? Isn't it wrong of the "invaders" to take their land? If you are being honest with yourself, you must answer yes to all those questions. But I ask you something else, aren't we being hypocritical when we didn't ask those same questions when the Israeli's took over with their tanks and weapons so long ago?

How do you justify state sponsored assassinations by the israeli's? Do you remember the boy and father that were brutally murdered by the Israeli army? (will post link later if you really want to see it)

To sum it up, yes the palestinians may be doing stuff that is wrong, but the Israeli are no angels. The Palestinians show signs of a people who have nothing to lose. Look at their children that are alive. They hurl stones at tanks. Do you think that is a normal child? Doesn't that bring tears to your eyes? Children are very amazing in that they see the world differently. But one thing they do understand is if something upsets their parents. These children do this on their own accord--if that doesn't give you a clue I don't know what will. Their homes taken, children killed, spouses murdered, jobs lost, and lives turned upside down by the same people (israeli's) that cried for help during hitler's time.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but I honestly don't understand how you can even attempt to defend the Israeli's.

some design specs for potential participants (4, Informative)

beanerspace (443710) | more than 13 years ago | (#2112086)

After reading the guidelines to the contest, I figured I'd offer the following models/design specs for those interested in participating:

But the real question is (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2124345)

Google, raging, or lycos?

Re:But the real question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2116312)

But the real quetion is, out of 100 some odd links, these five or six were interesting ? I think so !

Some black humor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2112407)

If you win, you can win a trip under the bomb in israel. And if you die in this second game, they keep the source.

How will they do this? (1)

Hank the Lion (47086) | more than 13 years ago | (#2112431)

From the detailed information on their web-site:
A round-robin tournament will be held to select the winner of the Learning Machine Challenge. All combinations of players will take part in all games, of which there will be between six and twelve.

As I see it, they plan to let every contestant play against every other, on 6-12 games, several thousand moves each.

Where will they find the time to do this if they get more than just a few dozens of entries?

Re:How will they do this? (1)

JM_the_Great (70802) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135958)

It'll be done by a computer program - hence the standard console interface.

Re:How will they do this? (1)

Hank the Lion (47086) | more than 13 years ago | (#2150549)

It'll be done by a computer program - hence the standard console interface.

I realized that.

But, let's say we get 1000 contestants.
Also, they specify 6-12 different games for each, let's say 10 on average.

This will mean 10*1000 * 999 / 2 matches (when A has played against B, B has played against A) of many thousand moves (let's say just 2000) each.

A program is required to process at least 10 moves per second. Worst case, this will lead to roughly 1000 million seconds, or 30 years, of computer time.

When you get more than 1000 contestants, the time required for the match will rise quadratically.

I realize that the average program will be faster than 10 moves/second, and that you can use several computers to speed things up (from the height of the prize, I gather that their budget is not unlimited, so I think more than 10 computers will be out of the question), but still, if you get a significant number of contestants, letting every contestant play agains very other may be prohibitive.

Re:How will they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2141745)

How many people do you think:

a) are interested in AI and game theory?
b) have some decent programming skills?
c) have enough time before Oct. 30th to do this?

Interesting (1)

Johnny Starrock (227040) | more than 13 years ago | (#2112513)

I don't claim to be an AI guru, but don't programs/computers live and die by rules? (Bad example: HAL in 2001. Rule: Complete Mission. Obstruction: Humans.) The AI could only adapt so much...

Re:Interesting (1)

pmcneill (146350) | more than 13 years ago | (#2122191)

Not necessarily. There are rule based systems ("when I see X, I do Y"), and these can fall apart in unexpected situations. However, this is far from the only way to implement a system.

One method is with classifier systems, where you evolve the rules that determine the output based either directly on the input, or a chain leading from some input. It starts with a pool of random bit strings which are evolved based on their success. The rule used is determined by a bidding scheme.

Another method, which is about as general as you can get, is genetic programming (GP). GP involves creating a set of functions and terminals and randomly generating a set of parse trees using them. Each of these programs is evaluated, and based on that the standard genetic algorithm operations are performed for form a new generation. Essentially, genetic programming is automatic programming, if given the right function and terminal set. Unfortunately, it would probably be too slow a process for this competition.

Both of the above methods have been proved over and over again. Classifier systems, for instance, have been used to run a simulated oil pipeline (with leaks, blockages, etc). Starting from a random population, it achieved human competitive results. Genetic programming has produced results that are not only human-competitive, but also infringe on pre-existing patents. [genetic-programming.com]

Israel, Prize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2113755)

A trip to Israel is a prize? Sheesh, they don't even allow tourists there right now.

The simple solution (1)

dozing (111230) | more than 13 years ago | (#2114786)

I'm going for the easy answer: If my score is an even number the answer is yes. Otherwise my answer is no.

Even more interesting... (1)

Cpt_Corelli (307594) | more than 13 years ago | (#2115562)

...was the other information on the AI site about how they are working on the Child Machine HAL [a-i.com] . Can you teach them how to do Java? In that case I could "work" from home more often...

User-submitted binaries? (1)

whatnotever (116284) | more than 13 years ago | (#2115566)

Will these programs be run in a sandbox? They're accepting user-submitted binaries, so I would hope so. To be completely fair, the submitted programs should be able to do nothing but read and write from stdin/stdout, otherwise they may do any number of things. Even if they are restricted like that, the judging program had better not having any buffer overflow vulnerabilities. ;-)

Somehow, I don't get the feeling that these people have planned this very thoroughly. There are other little things that don't quite seem right, too...

Easier than I feared (3, Interesting)

KFury (19522) | more than 13 years ago | (#2117860)

The first question that popped into my head was "How do we know what the opponents move means?"

I was under the misconception that at each turn in the game, the judge will inform the player of all possible moves (as in chess, checkers, or the like) but looking at the specification, it seems that the moves are detailed at the outset of the game, and then are available to each player at each stage in the game.

now the odd thing to me is the measure of 'state' in the game. Is the score that's returned after each move the current cumulative score, the score for that move alone, or what? Also, what is the goal of the game? It would be short-sighted to assume it's to amass the highest score. In effect, the score is just another input variable, along with the opponents move, which may or may not be useful for judging what is a good move or a bad move.

For example, if you were trying to make an algorithm to solve the A8 puzzle (the 'sliding tile puzzle' with 15 tiles and 16 spots), and the computer judged your score by totalling up manhattan distances to the goal state, that may or may not be a fair scale of how many moves away you are from winning in an ideal case.

The system is still underspecified. Without knowing what 'score' means, and whether it is an estimate or a deterministic function, then the project is pretty much a game of luck, and coding is not an effort of skill.

Re:Easier than I feared (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2135963)

Try reading the specs.

"Score" is the number of points scored that turn. It is a floating point number between -1 and 1.

The goal *is* to get the highest score.

Re:Easier than I feared (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 13 years ago | (#2115818)

Try reading the post.

Imagine in chess where you scrifice a pawn to gain position - in that case your "score" that turn would be negative yet you would be able to gain a higher overall score later as a result. With only knowledge of the "score" for that turn, how can you decide when a sacrificial move might leave you better off?

Re:Easier than I feared (1)

greenrd (47933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2114553)

Your program can attempt to make theories about what moves give you what scores in what contexts, test those theories, and if they seem to work, continue with them; if not, try another theory. The program has to be a good scientist - working out the rules of the world in which it finds itself.

Offtopic: Trip to Israel (5, Funny)

absurd_spork (454513) | more than 13 years ago | (#2120538)

Sorry for posting off topic, but I'm not sure if a trip to Israel is that desirable as a prize at the moment, given the rather unstable situation there.

Of course, there may be some connection between the prize and the game ("win a conflict where you've got no clue of the rules", that pretty much sums up the problems of both parties in the Middle East).

Re:Offtopic: Trip to Israel (now totally offtopic) (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#2126126)

Well the Palestinian have a clue about the whole thing. The Israelian can't win, as they are not facing an organised army but a population where every kid over 7 is a potential enemy. For Israel to win, they'd have to kill every Palestinian.

The Palestinian have nothing to loose, most of them are rather happy to die in this war, and the Israelian have everything to loose.

Re:Offtopic: Trip to Israel (not really offtopic) (1)

WinterKnight (104994) | more than 13 years ago | (#2110901)

Bla bla. Politics. Bla.

Anyway, as an Israeli I can assure you that the
"situation" has some really low chances of
hurting any tourist. Fact: i'm taking the bus
on a daily basis and yet i'm still alive. And
I -live- here. So, really. The media just like
to over bloat things.

On the down side: Its freaking HOT. Dont get
here unless you're heat tolerant. I'd take
a trip to swiss instead at any time.

Re:Offtopic: Trip to Israel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2127607)

The positive side is that any homocidal maniac can go to israel and fulfill their killing fantasies on the palestinians and the israelis will consider them heroes.

Don't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2123569)

It's just a trap to get more AI people into Israel Isn't this kind of setup used to nab probation violators? "You've won a free prize, come to this location to pick it up."

The game is Slashdot, the score is Karma. (2)

Basje (26968) | more than 13 years ago | (#2123760)

I wonder what will happen if you let one of these entries loose on slashdot? Would you get intelligent posts, or intelligent trolls? Imagine such a program accumulating more karma than Jon Katz. That would be a boost :)

But seriously. How can one consider this contest artificial intelligence? It's not like the entries have to be intelligent. They just have to be logical and well designed, and good at pattern recognition.

Look at chess as an example. This is like having a chess computer that has to learn the rules. Compared to playing chess (which is computable), learning the moves is relatively easy.

Re:The game is Slashdot, the score is Karma. (3, Insightful)

Vryl (31994) | more than 13 years ago | (#2133946)

It's not like the entries have to be intelligent. They just have to be logical and well designed, and good at pattern recognition.

All depends on the much debated definition of what is 'Intelligence'.

Certainly, pattern recognition is a sign (symptom?) of intelligence.

So, what are you actually saying? What do you mean when you say 'intelligence' ?

Re:The game is Slashdot, the score is Karma. (1)

Basje (26968) | more than 13 years ago | (#2125317)

I mean the Turing definition: something is intelligent when another intelligent being (i.e. a human) cannot tell if it's a machine he's communicating with, or another human

Paranoia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2124370)

Don't you think this could be used for piloting weapons ? The site is dead at this time so I can't get more insight. yours, Britney

This should prove entertaining. (3, Interesting)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#2126665)

Heck, I'd like to see a competition where HUMANS play a game where they don't know the rules. That could be just as intereting.

Re:This should prove entertaining. (1)

krogoth (134320) | more than 13 years ago | (#2111902)

"I'll move my piece to square A17..."

:*BEEP* Sorry, but you lost!"

Re:This should prove entertaining. (1)

lavaforge (245529) | more than 13 years ago | (#2113254)

If you're an American, it's called "cricket."

Re:This should prove entertaining. (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#2126281)

I thought it was called "presidential election".

Try Mornington Crescent. (2)

TDScott (260197) | more than 13 years ago | (#2114515)

A fantastic game for experienced players, but newcomers can sometimes be confused at the start.

It's played on the stations of the London Underground network. For example, I could start with Albright's Opening, *Regent Street*.

Anyone want to take me on?

Calvinball (5, Funny)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 13 years ago | (#2119191)

Heck, I'd like to see a competition where HUMANS play a game where they don't know the rules. That could be just as intereting.

It's called Calvinball, and it's the sport of kings.

Re:This should prove entertaining. (1, Insightful)

tardibear (135254) | more than 13 years ago | (#2134326)

Heck, I'd like to see a competition where HUMANS play a game where they don't know the rules. That could be just as intereting.

You're playing it right now, bud ..

Re:This should prove entertaining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2140240)

+5 Insightful.

Re:This should prove entertaining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2127810)

:) moreso than we can know...

That recall me a couple of clever hack... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2126666)

...where the problem was to make a program that played the old paper/rock/scissor game.

The entries had to be given in the form of a subroutine that played the next move (given the current score and the history). The judges were linking two of them together and run the resulting binary.

Of course, there have been an entry that looked in the stack and modified the scores.

But the greatest was one (IMHO) that fork()ed and returned one possible response in each of its child. At next turn, the one that did not make the point (ie: had top score), exit()ed.

Mind-blowing. Found the link [ualberta.ca]

That program was the "Fork Bot"



Re:That recall me a couple of clever hack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2111899)

s/the one that did not/the ones that did not



Re:That recall me a couple of clever hack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2149687)

Which goes to show why you don't leave the real AI research to the peanut gallery. i.e. you all.

AI? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2126841)

Give me a woman's brain anyday!
Sincerely, Mike Bouma

Why not pick a real problem? (1, Flamebait)

janpod66 (323734) | more than 13 years ago | (#2127468)

There are enough real, interesting problems out there to choose from; why pick some company's idea of a contest? Work on Go, write a nice chess player, do something interesting with data mining, etc.

Re:Why not pick a real problem? (2, Insightful)

Quixote (154172) | more than 13 years ago | (#2128039)

I think the idea is to make an attemp at "meta-learning". In all of the games that you've mentioned, the programmer knows the rules in advance, and the challenge is to see how best to build a system that navigates through those rules. In this contest, the idea is to see how you can capture the "programmers' thinking".

Re:Why not pick a real problem? (1)

DPalomo (459810) | more than 13 years ago | (#2138680)

As stated in the article, the submission of the winner will be used to improve natural language processing. I think this is **quite** a real world challenge.


here's a fun story for ya'll (-1)

GaylordFucker (465080) | more than 13 years ago | (#2128458)

i was at a party tonight... everyone was drunk/stoned.. but me (i'm a clean man :-D) and there were more girls then guy... and literally every guy fucked... but me... hehe

peace, love, linux,

random fortune... (5, Insightful)

Pelam (41604) | more than 13 years ago | (#2128459)

Probably irrelevant, but a fortune came to my mind when reading that submission:
In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.

"What are you doing?", asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe."
"Why is the net wired randomly?", inquired Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play".
At this Minsky shut his eyes, and Sussman asked his teacher "Why do you close your eyes?"
"So that the room will be empty."
At that momment, Sussman was enlightened.

Re:random fortune... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2110394)

And this is one of the reasons Minsky set back research on neural nets for 20 years...

MOD UP! (1)

Bahumat (213955) | more than 13 years ago | (#2122304)

Mod that one up folks...

Re:MOD UP! (4, Insightful)

MOMOCROME (207697) | more than 13 years ago | (#2131178)

I second that. This is a reference to a Koan found in 'Escher, Goedel, Bach, an Eternal Golden Braid' by innimitable Douglas Hoffsteder/

Otherwise known as the seminal work of AI philosophy.

This is truly on topic, moreso that the un-enlightened could ever know. ask yourelf: Are my mod points the mod points of the un-enlightened? if no, please mod up the parent's parent as +1, Insightful.


hmm (1)

JM_the_Great (70802) | more than 13 years ago | (#2132077)

Sounds like it's time for a genetic algorithm plus a bit of matrix game theory.

Re:hmm (1)

CaseStudy (119864) | more than 13 years ago | (#2112046)

GA won't win. If it's done beforehand, it will optimize itself for specific games. If it's done afterward, it will fall behind early and be unable to catch up.

Trip ... (0, Flamebait)

fogof (168191) | more than 13 years ago | (#2134321)

You mean trip to palestine... right ?

Damn (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135035)

Pity I can not program computers. This looks like a nice challenge.

hello! (-1)

GaylordFucker (465080) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135828)

tis be i!
how are you fine folks on 4:30 AM EST?

Quite frankly, Sweetz0r (0, Insightful)

theneo (511389) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135831)

Not a programming marvel IMO. Could easily be very hard to pull off, but the level of programmin g isnt revolutionary. What really sticks out to me is this is a totally different way to look at AI.

If its pulled off, should revolutionize as to what as seen possible for AI programming. ChatBots have been around for ages. That sort of AI exchange just isnt impressive. If this is done, at least in my eyes, it will prove points and open doors for future projects. Should be interesting.

How many actual AI researchers reading slashdot? (4, Funny)

exa (27197) | more than 13 years ago | (#2135959)

I mean how many real world CS people studying AI reads Slashdot?

Doing that and dumb enough to waste his time with this. Count me one.

How many actual AIs reading slashdot? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2110582)

How many actual AIs reading slashdot? And feeling superior?

Re:How many actual AIs reading slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2121774)

please go stand by the stairs.

Re:How many actual AI researchers reading slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2120861)

THANK you. I'm a cog. sci grad student. I don't know why I read the AI threads; they always piss me off when people comment who don't know anything about anything except having read Neuromancer and taken one undergrad AI course whose most complex AI feat is a minimax checkers player.

chump: AI hasn't progressed in 50 years. Its a failure.
me: for starters: Backprop, RBF, HMM, SVM, SOFM, ART, plus tons of symbolic side that I don't know about, people are mapping neuronal layers in the auditory and vision systems. Just because there isn't "strong AI" yet doesn't mean the field has failed. Physics doesn't have a grand unified theory, medicine can't make people live forever, etc. & we don't consider those fields failures. NNets are being moved out of the research labs and into everyday products, much like computing technology not too long ago.

chump: AI won't go anywhere until they acknowledge that they need (insert random physical property of the brain hypothesized in a pop science book or documentary)
me1: Penrose [arizona.edu] should stick to physics
me2: Tilden's analog/BEAM is a 3rd rate neural network implemented in hardware. Its incapable of doing anything more than oscillations. Analog hardware is irrelevant; modern computers are quite capable of doing floating point arithmetic.

Re:How many actual AI researchers reading slashdot (1)

Mister G (75589) | more than 13 years ago | (#2123678)

at least one, chief!

tit-for-tat algorithm (4, Interesting)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 13 years ago | (#2136471)

If this is a 2+ player competition and they're the right sorts of games (like the rock-paper-scissors game that it mentioned), whoever wins it might have to figure out a way to consistently beat the tit-for-tat algorithm.

Tit-for-tat [umich.edu] is one of the dead simplest game playing algorithms, and collectively it's one of the most successful.

It's based on the rule of "always do what the other player did last move". Under most circumstances it's impossible for it to actually win a game because the other player is always one step ahead. But its strength is in winning tournaments.

While it always loses, it never loses by much. This is different from other algorithms which usually have about as many weaknesses as they have strengths and will usually flunk out in at least some trials.

If someone can beat it consistently in a tournament situation, they really will have accomplished something in AI. Of course, this whole thing depends on exactly how the rules are structured, the scoring system and the information available to the program.

I can beat tit-for-tat (1)

CyberDruid (201684) | more than 13 years ago | (#2127952)

Beating the tit-for-tat is easy when you are allowed to submit many entries. Submit a lot of fake progs that defect against everyone who does not reply to a specific ID string (transmitted by the early moves).

The real prog answers an ID string with something similar and voíla the fake entries becomes nice cooperators. (see my also my earlier post)

Two thoughts (4, Insightful)

Cave Dweller (470644) | more than 13 years ago | (#2137639)

1. If I win, do I get a trip to the US? (see email address)
2. I wonder whether the winner could visit me.


Re:Two thoughts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2110435)

Fuck off smelly jew, we dont need your shitty backward kind on our glorious nation.

Re:Two thoughts (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 13 years ago | (#2112821)

Yes, come to the United States where you'll be arrested and held for weeks without a bail hearing for *supposedly* violating some crazy draconian copyright law.
You're going to LOVE the United States!

Re:Two thoughts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2116323)

I hear the israeli likes to swing palestinian babies by their feet and smash their heads open on railroad tracks.

Re:Two thoughts (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#2127274)

> If I win, do I get a trip to the US? (see email address)

Furriners who win a trip to the US shouldn't come unless they also get a get out of jail free card.

Re:Two thoughts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2127292)

You should be boycotted for human rights violations, the way they did with South-Afrika.

?Grtz? (well, maybe in the future I'll)

Exercise in neural networks (2, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 13 years ago | (#2138369)

After reviewing the challenge rules, I see this challenge as a simple exercise in neural networks coding.

The challenge is so obscure that any entry submitted will have to deploy a very generic NN and a trainer. this basicly means that after enough training any entry would do sufficiently good at any simple game (such as scissors, rock, paper) but playing anything more complex than
that is shooting in the dark. The interface and the rules of the challenge themselves are too obscure.

If there is someone with a code that could win such uncertainty effectively and efficiently, he'd be stupid to submit it for $2000.

Then again I must give a person that can do something extraordinary as that some credit for not doing something that stupid.

oh my a trip to israel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2138671)

i hear the fireworks are nice

I might know how to win or get an unfair advantage (4, Interesting)

CyberDruid (201684) | more than 13 years ago | (#2139053)

Seems to me that since it is a round-robin for all contestants (the site was /.ed, but I saw another post claiming that this was the case), all you have to do is team up with a lot of friends and have them enter fake programs into the contest (i.e cheating). These programs will start by identifying themselves with an "ID-string", consisting of, say, the first 10 replies (this can obviously be done generically even with unkown rules, just pick the moves randomly with the same seed). When my program sees this ID it replies a similar code. When the fake programs sees this, they start cooperating with my program (by playing as badly as they can muster). If the fake programs does not get this reply, they start playing as well as they can and will (since there will probably be large element of luck in each game) steal a considerable amount of points from the pool. The "real" program never risks anything since it never sends its own ID before being statistically sure that the opponent indeed is a fake. This method was inspired by a similar trick in the famous Prisoner's dilemma game.

Re:I might know how to win or get an unfair advant (1)

e-gold (36755) | more than 13 years ago | (#2116122)

Interesting idea, but I don't think it would be unfair, since according to the rules you can enter as many times as you want (don't even bother with friends, unless you want to). Also, I got the feeling from reading the site that programs are pitted against eachother one on one (I don't know for sure, perhaps this is another game rule that could change from game to game?). If this is the case, your "real" program might be subjected to other competitors' real programs and be unable to decline playing with them. Also, the judge program might not allow any identity information through until after your program makes a commitment. Still, assuming enough of the "fake" entries, it might still be possible to gain an advantage by dint of sheer numbers if you entered, say, a million times.

I suspect, if they ever try this contest again, they'll want to ponder that rule a bit more...

Re:I might know how to win or get an unfair advant (1)

CyberDruid (201684) | more than 13 years ago | (#2113024)

The point is not to decline playing against the other real programs, just for the fake progs to play to the best of their ability against everyone but you.

Sending ID will most likely mean making a commitment, but for long and somewhat stochastic games (which I have a feeling that we will be dealing with here), this early commitment will (hopefully) not be enough of a handicap for the fake progs. They will still get points (provided that your algorithm is any good in the first place).

The real program will only reply an ID string when it is statistically sure that its opponent is a "buddy", thus the real program gets the unfair advantage of getting a few/many easy wins that the programs made by the other contestants will not get, but sacrifices nothing. You will still need a good program to win. This is just how one could (if one were so inclined ;) give it that extra boost.

//David Fendrich, Swedish AI-dude

Re:I might know how to win or get an unfair advant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2119437)

Such groundbreaking AI theories. You should use this for your Phd dissertation... at Suck University.

Re:I might know how to win or get an unfair advant (2, Insightful)

bprotas (28569) | more than 13 years ago | (#2127669)

Of course, playing as "badly as they can" implies the same knowledge of the game as playing well, if you want to do better than random chance. To play badly is every much as difficult an AI problem as playing well...

rand() (2, Interesting)

KurdtX (207196) | more than 13 years ago | (#2144238)

I took an AI class this year where we had a challenge to use PERL to design a Stratego-playing AI. One of the professors quickly wrote a script that moved a random piece a random direction (verifying the move was legal), and had a surprisingly high win %.

Re:rand() (1)

matek (101962) | more than 13 years ago | (#2122816)

Heh... Some years ago I was involved in some competitions in Denmark and Europe for high-school students ( programming ). Some challanges involed a bit AI knowledge - but each and everyone of the winning entries have used a random algorithm to solve the challanges, and still always had biggest success rate...

World is weird....

humans? (1)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#2148677)

Hopefully they'll throw in some human opponents, just for comparison sake.

Re:humans? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2115550)

True! Or, even better - bacteria!

I remember that some few years ago some guys used bacteria to predict the stock market. apparently they are more susceptible to the miniscule trends humans tend to overlook. They really know how to adapt to beneficial environments, and, accordingly beat many an analyst.

However, with a doubling rate of over 20 minutes, they won't have a chance in Quake... Not even against Joe Schmoe with a 28.8k modem!

However in a slow, perhaps turnbased system they could be killers.

Sensmoral - that gaming competition has little to do with TrueIntelligence(tm). If one gets beaten by a gang of Streptococcus sp. it says very little indeed, but more perhaps on stock market analysts. ;)

How they pay for the prizes... (5, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 13 years ago | (#2150086)

They are playing the STOCK MARKET. They buy stocks according to the various submissions, gradually weed out the bad performers, and end up making a pile, with which they can pay the prize and still have a tidy profit.

Wish I'd thought of it!

Virii (0)

sui (90348) | more than 13 years ago | (#2150516)

"In fact, you are free to submit a binary executable if you desire: there is no need for you to reveal your source code to us! This interface allows an external judge program to moderate head-to-head games between two programs easily." Hope they got a good virus scanner
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