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Unity Technologies has teamed up with Google Cloud Platform to create the Obstacle Tower Challenge, which will test the limits of artificial intelligence in games.

In the first-of-its-kind contest, Google will offer a prize of cash, travel vouchers, and Google Cloud Platform credits, valued at more than $100,000.

Unity, the maker of the Unity game engine, is creating the contest to test the capabilities of intelligent agents and accelerate the research and development of AI. (Unity recently got in a spat with Improbable over a licensing dispute.)

The Obstacle Tower Challenge will be a new benchmark aimed at testing the vision, control, planning, and generalization abilities of AI systems — capabilities that no other benchmark has tested together before.


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Above: The Obstacle Tower Challenge offers $100,000 in prizes.

Image Credit: Unity

The Obstacle Tower Challenge is built upon Unity’s Obstacle Tower, a newly released game-like environment intended for machine learning researchers. The Obstacle Tower environment involves a combination of platform-style gameplay with puzzles and planning problems inside a tower setting with potentially endless floors. The challenge will examine how machines operate in a variety of areas, including computer vision, locomotion skills, and high-level planning, through platform-style gameplay with puzzles and planning problems.

“Each of the Tower floors is procedurally-generated, which means an AI agent must not only be able to solve a single version of the Tower but any arbitrary version as well. In this way, we’re testing the generalization ability of agents, a key capability that has not often been analyzed by benchmarks in the past,” said Danny Lange, vice president of AI and machine learning at Unity Technologies, in a statement. “Essentially, with the launch of the Obstacle Tower Challenge, we hope to stimulate new AI research and further the field of reinforcement learning.”

Obstacle tower challenge details

Above: Unity and Google Cloud Platform are teaming up in an AI contest.

Image Credit: Unity

The challenge begins on Monday, February 11 and will run through Friday, May 24. During the entrant period, there are two pre-established contestant rounds:

  • Round 1 (February 11 to March 31): All participants will have the opportunity to play up to floor 25 of the Obstacle Tower in the first round.
  • Round 2 (April 15 to May 24): Round 2 is the final, 100-floor round.
  • Winners announced (June 14).

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