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## Minimax Search and Alpha-Beta Pruning:

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**Minimax Search and Alpha-Beta Pruning:**Player 1 vs. Player 2**Motivations**• Breadth-first, depth-first, hill-climbing, best-first, and A* assume a non-hostile search space. • The goals just sit there somewhere in the graph. • The goals do not try to elude you. • The 8-puzzle game did not try to stop you from reaching the goal. • Your tic-tac-toe opponents reacted to your moves randomly. • But in a real 2-person game, you opponent does try to beat you and make it difficult for you to reach your goal. • Minimax search can be applied in an adversarial search space. • Alpha-beta pruning can be used to cut bad branches (moves) in the game tree to improve minimax search time.**Objectives**• Adversarial search space: MAX vs. MIN • A simple game tree: Nim-7 • Minimax on Nim-7 • Minimax on tic-tac-toe looking 3 plies ahead • Alpha-beta pruning**Two people games**• Solved games • Tic-tac-toe • Four In A Line • Checkers • Impressive games played by robots • Othello bot is much stronger than any human player • Computer chess beat the human world champions • TD-Gammon ranked among top 3 players in the backgammon world • Future bot challenges to humans • Poker bots play respectfully at world-class level • Computer bridge programs play competitively at national level • Go bots are getting more serious in the amateur ranking**Complete game tree for Nim-7**• 7 coins are placed on a table between the two opponents • A move consists of dividing a pile of coins into two nonempty piles of different sizes • For example, 6 coins can be divided into piles of 5 and 1 or 4 and 2, but not 3 and 3 • The first player who can no longer make a move loses the game P1 starts P2 replies P1 P2 P2 loses P1 loses P1 P2 loses**MIN vs. MAX in a Nim game**The best that MIN (Player1) can do is to lose unless Player2 makes a mistake. moves first to minimize to maximize Node score = 0 means MIN wins. 1 means MAX wins. Bold edges indicate forced win for MAX, Player2. MIN wins MAX wins MIN wins**Minimax to fixed ply depth**• Instead of Nim-7, image the chess game tree. • Chess game tree is too deep. • cannot expand the current node to terminating (leaf) nodes for checkmate. • Use fixed ply depth look-ahead. • Search from current position to all possible positions that are, e.g., 3-plies ahead. • Use heuristic to evaluate all these future positions. • P=1, N=B=3, R=5, Q=9 • Assign certain weight to certain features of the position (dominance of the center, mobility of the queen, etc.) • summarize these factors into a single number. • Then propagating the scores back to the current node.**MAX calculates the current node score**Look 3 plies ahead. = current node score Back propagate the scores up the tree. also hopes for the best hopes for the best Use heuristic h(n) for each of these future positions. A stronger heuristic will beat a weaker heuristic. A farther look-ahead will beat a near-sighted look-ahead. Computer chess routinely uses complex heuristics analyzing material and positional advantages and looks 40 plies ahead.**Heuristic measuring for adversarial tic-tac-toe**Maximize E(n) E(n) = 0 when my opponent and I have equal number of possibilities.**MAX hopes to win by maximizing.**MIN tries his best to minimize. MIN tries his best to minimize. MIN tries his best to minimize. Tic-tac-toe, MAX vs MIN, 2-ply look-ahead MAX's score at the opening is 1. So according to this heuristic, Play 1 has advantage. Fig. 4.23**MAX hopes to win by maximizing.**MAX makes his first move But MIN then builds another minimax tree with 2 plies look-ahead from here and decided to reply with MAX though MIN's best reply was**MAX's 2nd move: look ahead analysis**Fig. 4.24**MAX's 3rd move: look ahead analysis**−∞ means MIN wins. +∞ means MAX wins. Fig. 4.25**Unevaluated nodes**Alpha-beta pruning example F Minimax without pruning Depth-first search Visit C, A, F, Visit G, heuristics evaluates to 2Visit H, heuristics evaluates to 3 Back up {2,3} to F. max(F)=3 Back up to A. β(A)=3. Temporary min(A) is 3. 3 is the ceiling for node A's score. Visit B according to depth-first order. Visit I. Evaluates to 5. Max(B)>=5. α(B)=5. It does not matter what the value of J is, min(A)=3. β-prune J. Alpha-beta pruning improves search efficiency of minimax without sacrificing accuracy. J G H I**-value of S = -1**max(S)≥-1 -value = -2 min(B)≤-2 MIN MAX S α-prune A B C 1 -2 -1 0 1 Alpha-beta pruning • Proceed in a depth-first fashion in the n-ply look-ahead search tree. • Find the score for the top of this tree. • During the search, creates two values alpha and beta • α-value associated with MAX can never decrease • MAX's eventually score is at least as good as the current α-value • β-value associated with of MIN can never increase • MIN's eventually score is at least as good as the current β-value • α-prune: -value <= -value of a MAX ancestor • β -prune: Any MAX node having -value <= -value of any MIN ancestor min(A) = -1 max(S) must >= -1 Lower bound: -value of S = -1 h(C) = -2 min (B) <= -2 Upper bound: -value = -2 Final value of B can never exceed current value of S. We can prune the other children of B. -1**Conclusion**• Minimax search is designed for the adversarial search space, MAX vs MIN. • Before MAX makes a move, he looks n plies ahead in a DFS manner. • Apply heuristic function for the states at the end of the look ahead level. • Propagate these values back up to the current state. • Use alpha-beta pruning to cut bad branches (moves) in the game tree to improve search time. • Choose the move that maximizes the current node score. • Then it is MIN's turn of doing similar look-ahead and pruning to decide his move. • The players alternate until game over.