At long last, the perfect score for arcade classic Ms. Pac-Man has been achieved, though not by a human. Maluuba — a deep learning team acquired by Microsoft in January — has created an AI system that’s learned how to reach the game’s maximum point value of 999,900 on Atari 2600, using a unique combination of reinforcement learning with a divide-and-conquer method.

AI researchers have a documented penchant for using video games to test machine learning; they better mimic real-world chaos in a controlled environment versus more static games like chess. In 2015, Google’s DeepMind AI was able to learn how to master 49 Atari games using reinforcement learning, which provides positive or negative feedback each time the AI attempts to solve a…

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