Leveling up: DeepMind’s AlphaStar achieves Grandmaster level in StarCraft II

AlphaStar (Protoss, in green) dealing with flying units from the Zerg players with a combination of anti-air units (Phoenix and Archon).

Enlarge / AlphaStar
(Protoss, in green) dealing with flying units from the Zerg players
with a combination of anti-air units (Phoenix and Archon). (credit:
DeepMind)

Back in January, Google’s DeepMind team
announced that
its AI, dubbed AlphaStar, had beaten two top
human professional players at StarCraft. But as
we argued at the time
, it wasn’t quite a fair fight. Now
AlphaStar has improved on its performance sufficiently to achieve
Grandmaster status in StarCraft II, using the same interface as a
human player. The team described its work in a new paper in
Nature.

“This is a dream come true,” said DeepMind co-author Oriol
Vinyals, who was an avid StarCraft player 20 years ago. “AlphaStar
achieved Grandmaster level solely with a neural network and
general-purpose learning algorithms—which was unimaginable ten
years ago when I was researching StarCraft AI using rules-based
systems.”

Late last year,
we reported on
the latest achievements of AlphaZero, a direct
descendent of DeepMind’s AlphaGo, which made headlines worldwide in
2016 by defeating Lee Sedol, the reigning (human) world champion in
Go. AlphaGo got a major upgrade
last year, becoming capable of teaching itself winning strategies
with no need for human intervention. By playing itself over and
over again, AlphaZero trained itself to play Go from scratch in
just three days and soundly defeated the original AlphaGo 100 games
to 0. The only input it received was the basic rules of the game.
Then AlphaZero taught
itself
to play three different board games (chess, Go, and
shogi, a Japanese form of chess) in just three days, with no human
intervention.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Leveling up: DeepMind’s AlphaStar achieves Grandmaster level in StarCraft II