Seminar: Portfolio Greedy Search and Simulation for Large-Scale Combat in StarCraft

David Churchill
PhD Candidate
Department of Computing Science
University of Alberta

Portfolio Greedy Search and Simulation for Large-Scale Combat in StarCraft

Department of Computer Science
Monday, July 8, 2013, 1:00 p.m., Room EN-2022


Real-time strategy video games have proven to be a very challenging area for applications of artificial intelligence research.With their vast state and action spaces and real-time constraints, existing AI solutions have been shown to be too slow, or only able to be applied to small problem sets, while human players still dominate RTS AI systems. This paper makes three contributions to advancing the state of AI for popular commercial RTS game combat, which can consist of battles of dozens of units. First, we present an efficient system for modelling abstract RTS combat called SparCraft, which can perform millions of unit actions per second and visualize them. We then present a modification of the UCT algorithm capable of performing search in games with simultaneous and durative actions. Finally, a novel greedy search algorithm called Portfolio Greedy Search is presented which uses hill climbing and accurate playout-based evaluations to efficiently search even the largest combat scenarios. We demonstrate that Portfolio Greedy Search outperforms state of the art Alpha-Beta and UCT search methods for large StarCraft combat scenarios of up to 50 vs. 50 units under real-time search constraints of 40 ms per search episode.


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