The IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Games Innovation Conference 2009 and the IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games have organized a Mario AI Competition. The competition welcomes developers to create and submit an AI controlled controller for a version of Super Mario Bros called Infinite Mario Bros.
The controller's job is to take Mario through as many levels (of increasing difficulty) as possible by making split second decision as to what action to take (left, right, jump etc) in response to the environment around Mario. The game is to be controlled entirely by AI.
One of the main purposes of this competition is to be able to compare different controller development methodologies against each other, both those based on learning techniques such as artificial evolution and those that are completely hand-coded. The organizers hope to get submissions based on evolutionary neural networks, genetic programming, fuzzy logic, temporal difference learning, human ingenuity, hybrids of the above, etc. There are cash prizes associated with each phase of the competition.
Well, the first entry of the competition is already here and boy, does it look impressive!
You can see the path it plans to go as a red line, which updates when it detects new obstacles at the right screen border. It uses only information visible on screen. I've included a slow-motion part in the middle where it gets hairy for Mario. :-)
Here is another video but with a longer level. Mario is smoking pot!
If the first submission looks like this, I can’t wait to see the others.