Mentioned in this article
- AlphaStar has become the first AI system to reach StarCraft II’s top Grandmaster rank without any game restrictions.
- The feat was detailed in a paper published in the peer-reviewed science journal, Nature.
- AlphaStar was created by DeepMind Technologies, currently owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc.
On Oct. 30, artificial intelligence researchers DeepMind Technologies announced that its AlphaStar program had reached the Grandmaster level in the ranked ladder for StarCraft II. This marks the first time that an AI has reached the top tier for any esport title, using the same maps and conditions as human players.
DeepMind broke another milestone by publishing its findings in Nature, one of the world’s top peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the abstract, the authors state that AlphaStar was rated above 99.8% of officially ranked human players, in all three of the game’s playable alien races (Protoss, Terran, and Zerg).
The program is essentially automated; three separate neural networks (one for each race) trained themselves by using a database of past games, then copies of these agents played each other using a technique known as reinforcement learning. As detailed in a blog post, StarCraft II offers an extremely complex environment for the AI; with up to 10^26 possible actions available at each time step.
The interface and restrictions used for the experiment were approved by a professional StarCraft II player. In January, AlphaStar was able to win 10 consecutive matches against two human professionals, losing just one match. In the blog post, pro player Diego “Kelazhur” Schwimer praised the program’s strategies as “unimaginably unusual,” while Dario “TLO” Wünsch noted that the program didn’t “feel superhuman.”
Released under the full title StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in July 2010, the strategy title by Blizzard Entertainment is one of the longest enduring esports. DeepMind is known largely for developing AI programs that have beaten the world’s top chess and Go players, but StarCraft posed several original challenges compared to board games, such as the player having to build its own ‘pieces’ throughout the game, and not being able to see its opponent’s base and units.
DeepMind is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., and also researches AI ethics. The startup is one of several companies using esports games to further mankind’s understanding of machine intelligence. It’s most well-known competitor is OpenAI Five, a Dota 2 bot created by the AI research firm co-founded by Elon Musk, which has been able to beat the reigning champions of Dota 2’s The International, OG.
DeepMind said it hopes the techniques used to develop AlphaStar will help “further the safety and robustness of AI systems”, and may serve to advance “research in real-world domains”. The Esports Observer has requested an interview with DeepMind to learn more about its future plans, and will update this article if we receive a response.
Esports Rising – Nov. 14 | Who Is Attending?
Esports organizations in the likes of Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Gen G. Game developers, including Riot Games and Blizzard. Non-endemic sponsors such as adidas, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Jack in the Box and more. Sponsored by Lagardère Sports, and presented by Sports Business Journal / Daily, with support of The Esports Observer.
Credit: Source link