ai seminar - michael bowling

  • University of Alberta 3-33 Computing Sciences Centre Edmonton, AB Canada

deepstack: expert-level artificial intelligence in heads-up no-limit poker

Bio: Michael Bowling is a professor at the University of Alberta, Principal Investigator at Amii, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, and in the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence (RLAI) group as well as the leader of UAlberta's Computer Poker Research Group.

Overview: DeepStack bridges the gap between AI techniques for games of perfect information—like checkers, chess and Go—with ones for imperfect information games–like poker–to reason while it plays using “intuition” honed through deep learning to reassess its strategy with each decision.

In a study completed in December 2016 and published in Science in March 2017, DeepStack became the first AI capable of beating professional poker players at heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em poker.

DeepStack is the first theoretically sound application of heuristic search methods—which have been famously successful in games like checkers, chess, and Go—to imperfect information games.

At the heart of DeepStack is continual re-solving, a sound local strategy computation that only considers situations as they arise during play. This lets DeepStack avoid computing a complete strategy in advance, skirting the need for explicit abstraction.

During re-solving, DeepStack doesn’t need to reason about the entire remainder of the game because it substitutes computation beyond a certain depth with a fast approximate estimate, DeepStack’s "intuition" – a gut feeling of the value of holding any possible private cards in any possible poker situation.

Finally, DeepStack’s intuition, much like human intuition, needs to be trained. We train it with deep learning using examples generated from random poker situations.

DeepStack is theoretically sound, produces strategies substantially more difficult to exploit than abstraction-based techniques and defeats professional poker players at heads-up no-limit poker with statistical significance.

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