Automated Super Mario World gameplay through machine learning

Seth Bling made a bot — MarI/O — that automatically learns how to play Super Mario World. It’s based on research by Kenneth O. Stanley and Risto Miikkulainen from 2002 that uses neural networks that evolve with a genetic algorithm. MarI/O starts out really dumb, just standing in place, but after enough simulations it get smart enough to navigate the world.

Code available here and the paper from Stanley and Mikkulainen is here.

See also: the genetic algorithm walkers.


The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

The Changing American Diet

See what we ate on an average day, for the past several decades.

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.