Spotlight On
Betting on Cognitive Models
photo of José-Marie Griffiths
Dr. Paul Munro

This semester, DIST faculty member Paul Munro is leading a doctoral seminar on "Interactive Agents in Uncertain Environments", for which the development of Poker-playing software is a primary focus. He points out that, "A good Poker player must assess the other players in order to interpret their actions and make reasonable inferences about their hands. At the same time, a good player should not behave in a way that gives away their own hands. Thus the AI that goes into a Poker player has many levels and is conceptually more challenging than a game like Chess."

The idea for the seminar was inspired by a symposium held at the 6th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM), which was cohosted by Pitt and CMU this past July. The theme of the symposium was to build Poker-playing software agents. At the conference banquet, held at Dave & Buster's, a Poker game between humans and the software agents was held and displayed for the audience a'la ESPN Poker on TV.

Dr. Munro was a member of the ICCM organizing committee, along with Christian Schunn (LRDC), Marsa Lovett (CMU Psychology), and Christian Lebiere (CMU HCI Institute). The meeting included several oral presentations, poster presentations, tutorials, and a doctoral consortium. In addition to the so-called "Pokerbot" symposium, highlights of the conference were a performance piece dialog between a human and a "robot" and keynote talks by Ken Forbus (Northwestern) and Michael Mozer (University of Colorado). For more details see