Colloquium Details

AlphaStar: Mastering the Real-Time Strategy Game StarCraft II

Speaker: Oriol Vinyals, Google DeepMind

Location: 60 Fifth Avenue 150

Date: March 12, 2019, 2 p.m.

Host: Joan Bruna


Games have been used for decades as an important way to test and evaluate the performance of artificial intelligence systems. As capabilities have increased, the research community has sought games with increasing complexity that capture different elements of intelligence required to solve scientific and real-world problems. In recent years, StarCraft, considered to be one of the most challenging Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games and one of the longest-played esports of all time, has emerged by consensus as a “grand challenge” for AI research.

In this talk, I will introduce our StarCraft II program AlphaStar, the first Artificial Intelligence to defeat a top professional player. In a series of test matches held on 19 December, AlphaStar decisively beat Team Liquid’s Grzegorz "MaNa" Komincz, one of the world’s strongest professional StarCraft players, 5-1, following a successful benchmark match against his team-mate Dario “TLO” Wünsch. The matches took place under professional match conditions on a competitive ladder map and without any game restrictions.

Speaker Bio:

Oriol Vinyals is a Sr Staff Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, working in Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Prior to joining DeepMind, Oriol was part of the Google Brain team. He holds a Ph.D. in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley and is a recipient of the 2016 MIT TR35 innovator award. His research has been featured multiple times at the New York Times, BBC, etc., and his articles have been cited over 36000 times. Some of his contributions are used in Google Translate, Text-To-Speech, and Speech recognition, serving billions of queries every day, and he was the lead researcher of the AlphaStar project, creating an agent that defeated a top professional at the game of StarCraft. At DeepMind he continues working on his areas of interest, which include artificial intelligence, with particular emphasis on machine learning, deep learning and reinforcement learning.

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