Encyclopedia of Machine Learning

2010 Edition
| Editors: Claude Sammut, Geoffrey I. Webb

Samuel’s Checkers Player

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30164-8_740


Samuel’s Checkers Player is the first machine learning system that received public recognition. It pioneered many important ideas in game playing and machine learning. The two main papers describing his research (Samuel, 19591967) became landmark papers in Artificial Intelligence. In one game, the resulting program was able to beat one of America’s best players of the time.

Description of the Learning System

Samuel’s checkers player featured a wide variety of learning techniques. First, his checkers player remembered positions that it frequently encountered during play. This simple form of rote learning allowed it to save time, and to search deeper in subsequent games whenever a stored position was encountered on the board or in some line of calculation. Next, it featured the first successful application of what is now known as  Reinforcement Learningfor tuning the weights of its evaluation function. The program trained itself by playing against a stable copy of itself....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading

  1. Samuel, A. L. (1959). Some studies in machine learning using the game of checkers. IBM Journal of Research and Development,3(3), 211–229.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Samuel, A. L. (1967). Some studies in machine learning using the game of checkers. II – recent progress. IBM Journal of Research and Development, 11(6), 601–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011