July 12, 2019


Humans Fold: AI Conquers Poker's Final Milestone: A new program outperforms professionals in six-player games. Could business, political or military applications come next? (Jeremy Hsu, July 11, 2019, Scientific American)

During a 2017 casino tournament, a poker-playing program called Libratus deftly defeated four professional players in 120,000 hands of two-player poker. But the program's co-creator, Tuomas Sandholm, did not believe artificial intelligence could achieve a similar performance against a greater number of players.

Two years later, he has proved himself wrong. Sandholm has co-created an AI program called Pluribus, which can consistently defeat human experts in six-player matches of no-limit Texas Hold'em poker. "I never would have imagined we would reach this in my lifetime," says Sandholm, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Past AI victories over humans have involved two-player or two-team games such as checkers, chess, Go and two-player no-limit poker. All of these games are zero-sum--they have just one winning side and one losing side. But six-player poker comes much closer to resembling real-life situations in which one party must make decisions without knowing about multiple opponents' decision-making processes and resources. "This is the first major benchmark that is not two-player or two-team zero-sum games," says Noam Brown, a research scientist at Facebook AI Research and co-creator of Pluribus. "For the first time, we're going beyond that paradigm and showing AI can do well even in a general setting."

Posted by at July 12, 2019 8:12 AM


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