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Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence

Games 1: Game Tree Search

Ian Gent

ipg@cs.st-and.ac.uk

Artificial Intelligence

Game Tree Search

Part I :Game Trees

Part II: MiniMax

Part III: A bit of Alpha-Beta

- Unlike Bridge, we consider 2 player perfect information games
- Perfect Information: both players know everything there is to know about the game position
- no hidden information (e.g. opponents hands in bridge)
- no random events (e.g. draws in poker)
- two players need not have same set of moves available
- examples are Chess, Go, Checkers, O’s and X’s

- Ginsberg made Bridge 2 player perfect information
- by assuming specific random locations of cards
- two players were North-South and East-West

- A game tree is like a search tree
- nodes are search states, with full details about a position
- e.g. chessboard + castling/en passant information

- edges between nodes correspond to moves
- leaf nodes correspond to determined positions
- e.g. Win/Lose/Draw
- number of points for or against player

- at each node it is one or other player’s turn to move

- nodes are search states, with full details about a position

- Strong similarities with 8s puzzle search trees
- there may be loops/infinite branches
- typically no equivalent of variable ordering heuristic
- “variable” is always what move to make next

- One major difference with 8s puzzle
- The key difference is that you have an opponent!

- Call the two players Max and Min
- Max wants leaf node with max possible score
- e.g. Win = +

- Min wants leaf node with min score,
- e.g. Lose = -

- Max wants leaf node with max possible score

- Game trees are huge
- O’s and X’s not bad, just 9! = 362,880
- Checkers/Draughts about 1040
- Chess about 10 120
- Go utterly ludicrous, e.g. 361! 10750

- Recall from Search1 Lecture,
- It is not good enough to find a route to a win
- Have to find a winning strategy
- Unlike 8s/SAT/TSP, can’t just look for one leaf node
- typically need lots of different winning leaf nodes

- Much more of the tree needs to be explored

- It is usually impossible to solve games completely
- Connect 4 has been solved
- Checkers has not been
- we’ll see a brave attempt later

- This means we cannot search entire game tree
- we have to cut off search at a certain depth
- like depth bounded depth first, lose completeness

- we have to cut off search at a certain depth
- Instead we have to estimate cost of internal nodes
- Do so using a static evaluation function

- A static evaluation function should estimate the true value of a node
- true value = value of node if we performed exhaustive search
- need not just be /0/- even if those are only final scores
- can indicate degree of position
- e.g. nodes might evaluate to +1, 0, -10

- Children learn a simple evaluation function for chess
- P = 1, N = B = 3, R = 5, Q = 9, K = 1000
- Static evaluation is difference in sum of scores
- chess programs have much more complicated functions

- A simple evaluation function for O’s and X’s is:
- Count lines still open for maX,
- Subtract number of lines still open for min
- evaluation at start of game is 0
- after X moves in center, score is +4

- Evaluation functions are only heuristics
- e.g. might have score -2 but maX can win at next move
- O - X
- - O X
- - - -

- e.g. might have score -2 but maX can win at next move
- Use combination of evaluation function and search

- Assume that both players play perfectly
- Therefore we cannot optimistically assume player will miss winning response to our moves

- E.g. consider Min’s strategy
- wants lowest possible score, ideally -
- but must account for Max aiming for +
- Min’s best strategy is:
- choose the move that minimises the score that will result when Max chooses the maximising move

- hence the name MiniMax

- Max does the opposite

- Statically evaluate positions at depth d
- From then on work upwards
- Score of max nodes is the max of child nodes
- Score of min nodes is the min of child nodes
- Doing this from the bottom up eventually gives score of possible moves from root node
- hence best move to make

- Can still do this depth first, so space efficient

- Minimax is horrendously inefficient
- If we go to depth d, branching rate b,
- we must explore bd nodes

- but many nodes are wasted
- We needlessly calculate the exact score at every node
- but at many nodes we don’t need to know exact score
- e.g. outlined nodes are irrelevant

- Alpha-Beta =
- Uses same insight as branch and bound
- When we cannot do better than the best so far
- we can cut off search in this part of the tree

- More complicated because of opposite score functions
- To implement this we will manipulate alpha and beta values, and store them on internal nodes in the search tree

- At a Mx node we will store an alpha value
- the alpha value is lower bound on the exact minimax score
- the true value might be
- if we know Min can choose moves with score <
- then Min will never choose to let Max go to a node where the score will be or more

- At a Min node, we will store a beta value
- the beta value is upper bound on the exact minimax score
- the true value might be

- Alpha-Beta search uses these values to cut search

- Why can we cut off search?
- Beta = 1 < alpha = 2 where the alpha value is at an ancestor node
- At the ancestor node, Max had a choice to get a score of at least 2 (maybe more)
- Max is not going to move right to let Min guarantee a score of 1 (maybe less)

- Game trees are similar to search trees
- but have opposing players

- Minimax characterises the value of nodes in the tree
- but is horribly inefficient

- Use static evaluation when tree too big
- Alpha-beta can cut off nodes that need not be searched
- Next Time: More details on Alpha-Beta