General game players are computer systems able to play strategy games based solely on formal game descriptions supplied at "runtime". (In other words, they don't know the rules until the games start.) General Game Playing (GGP) is an interesting application in its own right. It is intellectually engaging and more than a little fun. But it is much more than that. It provides a theoretical framework for modeling discrete dynamic systems and for defining rationality in a way that takes into account problem representation and complexities like incompleteness of information and resource bounds. It has practical applications in areas where these features are important, e.g. in business and law. More fundamentally, it raises questions about the nature of intelligence and serves as a laboratory in which to evaluate competing approaches to artificial intelligence.
This course is a hands-on introduction to GGP. Theoretical background is provided through lectures and readings, but the main pedagogical value of the course derives from the use of this theory to create GGP players able to perform effectively.
All of the course materials are online. There are links to lessons, notes, videos, background readings, software resources, and the Arena competition management system. Click on the Lessons link at the top of this page to get started.
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