Microsoft's Project Malmo platform for AI experimentation is now available on Github. The Malmo platform is built on top of Minecraft and uses its experiences and interactions to learn how to interact with the world.
Malmo is an AI experimentation platform built on top of Minecraft that anyone can use for research in artificial intelligence. It started life as Project AIX and was renamed after we originally reported on it in March, see The AIX Minecraft Project Makes Thinking Software Possible. The initial version was made available in limited private preview, but has now been opened up for use by anyone who's interested.
The Project Malmo platform consists of a mod for the Java version, and code that helps artificial intelligence agents sense and act within the Minecraft environment. The two components can run on Windows, Linux, or Mac OS, and you can program your agents in any programming language.
The thinking behind choosing Minecraft for the underlying platform lies in the wide range of possibilities, ranging from simple tasks, like walking around looking for treasure, to complex ones, like building a structure with a group of teammates. The idea is that AI researchers can develop AI systems that can learn, converse, make decisions and complete complex tasks.
The project was discussed at this year's NIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference in Barcelona, where Katja Hofmann, of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, lab, who leads the development of Project Malmo, showed Malmo in action and explained more about it.. She also explains Malmo in the video below:
Essentially, you can develop AI systems in which your agent learns how to perform tasks using the same types of resources a human has when learning a new task. In other words, the agent starts out knowing nothing, and over time grows to understand its surroundings and work out what’s important in terms of getting closer to achieving its goal. The publicly available version of Malmo has extra features that let you create bots that can learn to talk to each other, and to people.
The platform can also be used to teach AI build objects (a chair, a sword) using tools and resources. The agents can also learn how to get around on their own, to build with blocks, and navigate mazes. Microsoft estimates that at least 100 research labs are using Malmo to experiment with AI systems.
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