Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

mardi 17 juin 2003

In "Poker playing computer will take on the best," the Edmonton Journal says that there's a new poker player in town.

[And it] never sweats, never gets tired, never tips a hand and can still bluff with the best of them.
University of Alberta artificial intelligence researchers bet their new poker computer program will be the best player in the world, perhaps within a year.

And why will it the best player? Because it bluffs.

PsOpti -- the pseudo-optimal poker program -- is the latest version in the team's decade-long attempt to create the ultimate poker player. The program has some crucial tools, including the ability to bluff.
"You have to bluff," says Jonathan Schaeffer, who heads up the university's Games Research Group and who already has a world-champion checkers computer program under his belt. "If you do not bluff, you're predictable. If you're predictable, you can be exploited."

PsOpti -- a.k.a. Poki -- is based on a game theory formula developed by Nobel Prize winner John Nash. It is written in Java and parts of the code have been released.

The technical description of the program beat out 1,200 competitors to win the distinguished paper award at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence to be held in August in Acapulco, Mexico.

You can find this paper in PDF format at this location.

According to the researchers, this program could also be used for many other things, whenever you have to deal with imperfect information.

"A lot of the original research in games involved games with perfect information. Like in chess, you always know where the pieces are, there's nothing hidden," Schaeffer says. "Games with imperfect information, like poker, are actually much more important in the real world than games of perfect information." Figuring out how to reason with imperfect information has many benefits: in international negotiations, in poker, or in buying a car.

For more information about the technology, please visit the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group website. In particular, you'll find a screen capture of the program.

Source: Ryan Cormier, The Edmonton Journal, June 12, 2003

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