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Menace the Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine Oliver Child


 use of machine learning to teach computers to play board games has had a lot of interest lately. Big companies such as Facebook and Google have both made recent breakthroughs in teaching AI the complex board game, Go. However, people have been using machine learning to teach computers board games since the mid-twentieth century. In the early 1960s Donald Michie, a British computer scientist who helped break the German Tunny code during the Second World War, came up with Menace (the Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine). Menace uses 304 matchboxes all filled with coloured beads in order to learn to play noughts and crosses.

How Menace works Menace “learns” to play noughts and crosses by playing the game repeatedly against another player, each time refining its strategy until aer having played a certain number of games it becomes almost perfect and its opponent is only able to draw or lose against it. The learning process involves being “punished” for losing and “re- Donald Mitchie Donald Michie’s original Menace. warded” for drawing or winning, in much the same way that a child learns. This type of machine learning is called reinforcement learning.


Chalkdust, Issue 03  

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