Several computer science and computer engineering students at the University of Missouri-Rolla competed in the UMR computer science department’s 2003 Artificial Intelligence Tournament on campus May 10.
The competitors were students in Dr. Daniel Tauritz’s Computer Science 347 course, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence." In future years, the organizers hope to expand the tournament to give the entire campus the opportunity to participate.
The tournament was based on the board game Abalone, says Tauritz. Abalone is a two-player game played on a hexagon board. In the game, both players start with 14 marbles on opposite sides of the board. A player can shift one, two, or three marbles together in any of the six directions, provided there is an adjacent space. To win, a player must be the first to push six of the opponent’s marbles off the board.
Tournament participants wrote computer programs in the C++ programming language using the artificial intelligence techniques learned in their course work.
"Nine computers, each running one of the nine students’ computer programs, were all networked together with a 10th computer acting as a server," Tauritz explains. "The computer programs played against each other by communicating their moves via the network (and they also showed the moves they made on the computer screen so that us humans could follow the games). For each round the server kept track of the number of wins, losses, and draws for each computer program."
Christopher Walker, a senior in computer science from Quincy, Ill., won first place in the tournament. Alex Berry, a senior in computer engineering from Madisonville, Ky., won second place; and Brad Martin, a senior in computer science from Independence, Mo., won third place.