Artificial Intelligence, Libratus, and the Pittsburgh supercomputer Bridges were amongst the award winners at the SC17 supercomputing conference in Denver, including one for the famous victory over Jason Les and co in January.
You know the world is changing faster than a salt coated slug turning to mush when professional poker players begin suggesting that the best poker player in the world is an algorithm.
The algorithm in question goes by the name Libratus, and at the turn of the year, it beat Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou (the poker player, not the high heel guy), and Daniel McAulay, four of the most distinguished heads-up strategists in the business. Libratus didn’t just win; it annihilated the competition winning by a margin of $1.76m over 120,000 hands.
Libratus was the first artificial intelligence (AI) to pair with the Pittsburgh supercomputer Bridges to beat the top humans in Texas No-Limit Hold’em, the Holy Grail in the AI community when it comes to solving games of incomplete information.
It was a milestone victory for the bright minds behind Libratus and Bridges, and this week they were honoured by HPCWire magazine during the SC17 supercomputing conference in Denver.
The team won five awards, including “Best Use of AI: CMU School of Computer Science “Libratus” AI on PSC’s “Bridges” wins Brains vs AI competition”.
AI and Poker in a Bid to Save The World
Ok, maybe that headline is a little dramatic, but both AIs like Libratus and Bridges and a stratum of the poker community are doing their utmost to help save our planet from tumbling into a variety of different problems including existential crisis.
When Libratus beat the humans, many writers (myself included) focused on the gravity of the situation within the poker circles, concerned that AI bots would penetrate online poker room defences like the final scene in the Matrix Trilogy.
But it’s time to think deeper.
On the same night, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), and Soongsil University in the Republic of Korea won the 2017 Innovation Excellence Award for their work on flu vaccines. Each year, close to a quarter of a million Americans end up in a hospital with the flu, and 24,000 of them never emerge alive. The annual cost to the US healthcare industry is $85 billion, and under half of all children and adults under 65 are vaccinated against the illness.
Bridges tag-teamed with Pittsburgh’s supercomputer Olympus to plot a broad range of models across states to figure out the impact of offering different types of vaccinations to reduce costs and deaths.
And it’s not just the flu that these supercomputers are honing their skills at the poker table to find solutions. The team behind Bridges are using poker as a testbed to make a difference in planetary issues such as climate change and world hunger.
Bridges is the largest system in the world that converges high-performance computing with AI and big data, and the poker community can be proud to be a part of that, in the midst of a lot of doom-mongering about unregulated advancements in AI theory and practice.
And there is a striking parallel between Libratus and the poker industry. Not only is Libratus trying to save the world, but so are the people made up of 46 chromosomes, thanks to the formation of movements like Raising for Effective Giving (REG), who are spending a lot of time and money researching the ‘AI Control Problem.’
Case in point, here is one of the founders of REG, Liv Boeree, talking about Bridges and the future of humanity in All-In On AI – The Great Big Story by Hewlett Packard.