This Researcher Programmed the Perfect Poker-Playing Computer

February 3, 2017

(TIME) – When Tuomas Sandholm began studying poker to research artificial intelligence 12 years ago, he never imagined that a computer would be able to defeat the best human players. “At least not in my lifetime,” he says. But Sandholm, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, along with doctorate student Noam Brown, developed AI software capable of doing just that. The program, called Libratus, successfully defeated four professional poker players in a 20-day competition that ended on Jan. 30. After playing 120,000 hands of heads-up, no-limit Texas Hold’em, Libratus was ahead of its human challengers by more than $1.7 million in chips.