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DeepMind AlphaStar (Starcraft II bot) links

Last Thursday (1/24), Google’s DeepMind team announced a bot, AlphaStar, which they claimed showed high-level human play on Starcraft II for the first time. Some discussion ensued: what does this show, and what does it mean for AI & Games, or AI in general? Since it’s breaking news quite relevant to our course, we’ll spend some time this week covering both the results and some of the discussions and controversies.

I’ve collected some relevant links below:

DeepMind StarCraft II Demonstration video

  • Commented recording of five human-vs-machine games
  • There’s an explanation of the learning algorithm at 1:16:30

DeepMind blog post

  • Explanation of the algorithms and bot training league
  • Some interactive visualizations of strategies
  • Downloadable data

Reaction blog posts and articles:


DeepMind announced a claim to have reached top human-level performance (with some fine print) on StarCraft II with their bot AlphaStar, the first time that’s been done for a real-time strategy game. I posted a collection of primary-source and early reaction links; see “DeepMind AlphaStar (Starcraft II bot) links” in under Content in Blackboard.

Your assignment is to dig a little bit into these materials and come up with a preliminary opinion.

Two questions:

1. Overall, what do you think this shows? Is it a major advance for AI? A minor one? Not sure? Does anything in particular stand out at you from the videos, DeepMind blog post, and following debate as being particularly noteworthy?

2. If you had the ability to ask DeepMind to do follow-up experiments or further data analysis, what would you want to see?

(Expected length: A page or two, i.e. 1-2 paragraphs per question.) 12 times new roman

Books you can look at: Chapter 1-2-3-4 of Playing Smartby by Julian Togelius,

This class is about AI games theory.

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