Poker-Hold ‘Em as a good research tool

Sam Ganzfried, Hold 'Em is a good researchSam Ganzfried, is beginning a stint as assistant professor of computer science at the School of Computing and Information Sciences at FIU, approaches poker as both a player and scientist.

Hold ‘Em is a good research tool because it requires players, whether human or AI, to make decisions based on incomplete information. Each player has two cards that others at the table don’t see. Processes that help AI pick the best strategy in Hold ‘Em can be adapted to solve complex problems fraught with what scientists call “imperfect information.”

“The computer poker research area is just a little over a decade old,” says Ganzfried, who has a doctorate in computer science from CMU and a bachelor’s degree in math from Harvard. “The ideas are starting to have applications in medicine, security. It’s exciting to see these applications develop.”

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