Game playing

  • Jeffrey R. Sampson
Part of the Texts and Monographs in Computer Science book series (MCS)


Game playing programs have long been a popular area of artificial intelligence research, for a variety of reasons. First of all there is usually no argument that the ability to play even a simple game represents a form of intelligent behavior. Second, games are usually fairly easy to implement on a computer because they are already defined in a formal, rule bound manner. Third, games may be arbitrarily complex, ranging from the triviality of tic-tac-toe to the sophistication of master level chess. Fourth, many games can be considered to represent models of real world situations, as shown by the business and war games used in social science research (and for entertainment). Finally, games are a convenient medium in which to study methods of search which are fundamentally important to many areas of artificial intelligence research.


Evaluation Function Game Playing Simple Game Game Tree Generalization Learning 
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  1. Feigenbaum, Edward A., and Feldman, Julian (eds.). Computers and Thought. McGraw-Hill, 1963. An excellent collection of papers from the “first decade” of artificial intelligence research. Section 2 on game playing contains Samuel’s first paper and the article on chess playing by Newell et al.. zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Newborn, Monroe. Computer Chess. Academic Press, 1975. A thorough historical study with details of many important games.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. Newell, A., Shaw, J. C., and Simon, H. A. “Chess playing programs and the problem of complexity.” IBM Journal of Research and Development, 2, 1958, pp. 320–355. Reprinted in the Feigenbaum and Feldman collection above. A good study of the inherent problems in programming a chess player, with descriptions of several early programs.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Newell, A. and Simon, H. A. Human Problem Solving, Prentice-Hall, 1972. A massive research compendium with a good chapter on their own and other approaches to chess playing. Considerable overlap with the above article.Google Scholar
  5. Samuel, A. L. “Some studies in machine learning using the game of checkers.” IBM Journal of Research and Development, 3, 1959, pp. 211–299.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Samuel, A. L. Reprinted in the Feigenbaum and Feldman collection above. And “II—Recent progress,” 9, 1967, pp. 601–617. The two papers on the famous checker player.Google Scholar
  7. Shannon, Claude E. “Programming a digital computer for playing chess.” Philosophical Magazine, 41, 1950, pp. 356–375. The classic first study of the challenge of computer chess playing.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  8. Slagle, James R. Artificial Intelligence: The Heuristic Programming Approach. McGraw-Hill, 1971. A good introduction to selected artificial intelligence topics. Game playing is treated in chapters 1, 2, and 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey R. Sampson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceThe University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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