Who knew Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlet could help robots navigate mine fields? Matt Palmquist reports in Miller-McCune that the classic whodunit board game inspired engineers at Duke University to create an algorithm that combines the treasure hunt nature of the detective game with aspects of minesweeping, and it has been overwhelmingly successful at beating experienced Clue players even. The findings suggest robots might be able to use it to locate mines more quickly and efficiently because the success of the algorithm rests on “its strategy of selecting movements and optimizing its ability to incorporate new information, while minimizing the distance traveled by the pawn,” according to a lab director at Duke. Frankly I can’t quip a better conclusion than Palmquist’s summary, “In other words: It was the robot, in the library, with the minesweeper.”
Miller-McCune won an Utne Independent Press Award this year for its superb science/tech coverage.