Computer Teaches Another Computer How to Play Pac-Man

Posted on April 2, 2014

A computer has taught another computer how to play Pac-Man for the first time. Researchers at Washington State University's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science developed a method to allow one computer to give advice and teach skills to another computer.

The researchers had the agents (the virtual robots) act like real student and teacher pairs. The student agents struggled to learn how to play Pac-Man and StarCraft. The WSU researchers say that not only did the student agents eventually learn how to play the games, but they were able to outperform their computer teachers.

A paper on study by Matthew E. Taylor, WSU's Allred Distinguished Professor in Artificial Intelligence, was published here in the journal, Connection Science. The researchers say having robots teach each other to play computer games is an important step in robotics. If robots could teach each other tasks then a housekeeping robot could train its replacement to do the job without a human needing to be involved. The researchers say not to worry about robots taking over the world. Taylor says "they're very dumb." He says even the most advanced robots get confused and when they do they stop working.

Taylor says in a statement, "We designed algorithms for advice giving, and we are trying to figure out when our advice makes the biggest difference."

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