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Jordan B. Pollack, Alan D. Blair
2012 Machine Learning  
Following Tesauro's work on TD-Gammon, we used a 4000 parameter feed-forward neural network to develop a competitive backgammon evaluation function. Play proceeds by a roll of the dice, application of the network to all legal moves, and choosing the move with the highest evaluation. However, no back-propagation, reinforcement or temporal difference learning methods were employed. Instead we apply simple hill-climbing in a relative fitness environment. We start with an initial champion of all
more » ... o weights and proceed simply by playing the current champion network against a slightly mutated challenger and changing weights if the challenger wins. Surprisingly, this worked rather well. We investigate how the peculiar dynamics of this domain enabled a previously discarded weak method to succeed, by preventing suboptimal equilibria in a "meta-game" of self-learning.
doi:10.1023/a:1007417214905 fatcat:kl73a3uzdfbu7elgxd5zgllwvi