Abalearn: A Risk-Sensitive Approach to Self-play Learning in Abalone

  • Pedro Campos
  • Thibault Langlois
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2837)


This paper presents Abalearn, a self-teaching Abalone program capable of automatically reaching an intermediate level of play without needing expert-labeled training examples, deep searches or exposure to competent play.

Our approach is based on a reinforcement learning algorithm that is risk-seeking, since defensive players in Abalone tend to never end a game.

We show that it is the risk-sensitivity that allows a successful self-play training. We also propose a set of features that seem relevant for achieving a good level of play.

We evaluate our approach using a fixed heuristic opponent as a benchmark, pitting our agents against human players online and comparing samples of our agents at different times of training.


Reinforcement Learn Algorithm Search Depth Greedy Policy Training Game Chess Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Campos
    • 1
  • Thibault Langlois
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.INESC-IDNeural Networks and Signal Processing GroupLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de InformáticaFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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