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Microsoft publicly releases Project Malmo, which lets researchers use Minecraft for AI research

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Microsoft’s Minecraft has been going places. The company acquired the platform 2 years ago and since then, the ‘game’ has made many achievements. For instance, half a year ago we saw the Redmond giant modify Minecraft to MinecraftEdu, and turn it into a learning tool for classrooms. A couple months later, Microsoft introduced Project AIX, a platform to develop artificial intelligence using Minecraft.

Seems as if that wasn’t enough Craft for the company. The tech giant announced today the public release of Project Malmo, an extension of AIX and a platform that allows researchers to test AI development using Minecraft. The system was, until now, available to to a small group of computer scientists in private preview.


It basically allows researchers to develop sophisticated, more general artificial intelligence that can do things like learn, hold conversations, make decisions and complete complex tasks.

“We’ve trained the artificial intelligence to identify patterns in the dictation, but the underlying technology doesn’t have any understanding of what those words mean,”

Katja Hoffman of MS’s Cambridge, UK lab said in a blog post announcing the preview.


“They’re just statistical patterns, and there’s no connection to any experience.”

Researchers who have worked with Malmo have said that there are many key advantages to the platform for overall development of AI tech. For example, Minecraft, with its rich, immersive world and endless possibilities for collaboration and exploration, is ideally suited for general AI research. The project will also allow overclocking, that is the ability to run experiments faster than the usual pace of Minecraft’s world, the more the number of users.

Another high point is that the system will allow researchers to compare their progress with that of others and thus promoting healthy competition. Not just that, researchers may even opt to work together in order to get better results, faster. All this is possible only because all the personnel will be working on a common platform.

Project Malmo is currently open for anyone who wants to try it. The system is now available on GitHub via an open-source license.


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