Computer program learns to play classic Nintendo games

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Nathan Yau

I knew I had seen another automated video game thing before. Tom Murphy published work a couple of years ago on creating a computer program that learns how to play classic Nintendo games.

It’s a different approach than the project from earlier this week. The program is generalized, so it can be applied to games besides Mario Bros., and the computer can eventually beat more than one level. Plus, the program finds and takes advantage of glitches in games.

Watch Murphy’s video explanation below, and geek out about Lexicographic Orderings. Oh my.

Here’s the paper (pdf) if you want more details. The best part is the title: “The First Level of Super Mario Bros. is Easy with Lexicographic Orderings and Time Travel…after that it gets a little tricky.”

Favorites

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.

Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower. Salary also probably plays a role.

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.