# minimax algorithm

TLDRThe Minimax algorithm is a strategic decision-making process used in artificial intelligence for optimizing a decision in a game or a competitive situation. It's particularly effective in two-player, zero-sum games with perfect information, such as chess or tic-tac-toe. The algorithm works by simulating all possible moves and counter-moves to determine the optimal strategy, aiming to minimize the maximum possible loss for a worst-case scenario. It's foundational in game theory and has inspired more efficient algorithms like Alpha-Beta pruning.

### Takeaways

- 😀 The Minimax algorithm is used for making optimal decisions in competitive games with perfect information.
- 🎲 It's typically used in zero-sum games where one player's gain is another's loss, but it can also apply to games with different win conditions.
- 🕵️♂️ The algorithm assumes that players always play optimally, meaning they always make the best possible move given the current state of the game.
- 🌳 Minimax works by constructing a game tree, which is a theoretical model representing all possible sequences of moves in a game.
- 🔢 The algorithm uses a recursive function to evaluate each node in the game tree, assigning a value that represents the utility for a player at that state.
- 🏁 Terminal nodes in the game tree represent game-over states, and their values are determined by the game's rules, such as win, lose, or draw.
- 🔄 Minimax alternates between maximizing and minimizing the value at each node, depending on whether it's the maximizing player's or the minimizing player's turn.
- 📉 The algorithm can be computationally expensive, especially for games with a large number of possible moves and deep game trees.
- 🔍 Alpha Beta pruning is a technique that can be used to optimize the Minimax algorithm by reducing the number of nodes that need to be evaluated.
- 👥 The basic Minimax algorithm can be extended to handle games with more than two players by using a vector of utilities instead of a single value.

### Q & A

### What is the Minimax algorithm?

-The Minimax algorithm is a decision-making strategy used in game theory, particularly for two-player, zero-sum games with perfect information. It involves minimizing the maximum possible loss for a worst-case scenario.

### In which type of games does the Minimax algorithm work best?

-The Minimax algorithm works best in competitive games that are usually zero-sum, where one player's gain is another's loss, and where players have perfect information about the game state.

### What is a zero-sum game in the context of the Minimax algorithm?

-A zero-sum game is a game where one player's win is exactly balanced by the other player's loss, so the net change in total points is zero.

### Why is perfect information important for the Minimax algorithm?

-Perfect information is important because it ensures that all players have knowledge of all the previous moves, allowing for the calculation of the best move for each player given the current game state.

### What does the Minimax algorithm consider when evaluating game states?

-The Minimax algorithm considers the utility or objective function of each game state for a player, which represents the desirability or value of the state to that player.

### How does the Minimax algorithm handle games with imperfect information?

-The Minimax algorithm does not handle games with imperfect information directly, as it requires complete knowledge of the game state. Games with imperfect information, like those where players have hidden information, would require different strategies or algorithms.

### What is a terminal state in the context of the Minimax algorithm?

-A terminal state is a state in the game tree where the game ends, either because a player has won, lost, or the game is a draw. The Minimax algorithm returns the utility value of the game outcome for these states.

### How does the Minimax algorithm decide the best move in a game?

-The Minimax algorithm decides the best move by recursively evaluating all possible game states and actions, choosing the move that maximizes the minimum possible utility for the maximizing player or minimizes the maximum utility for the minimizing player.

### What is the computational complexity of the Minimax algorithm?

-The computational complexity of the Minimax algorithm is exponential, specifically O(B^M), where B is the average number of legal moves and M is the depth of the game tree. This makes it impractical for games with large state spaces or deep game trees.

### What is Alpha Beta pruning and how does it relate to the Minimax algorithm?

-Alpha Beta pruning is an optimization technique for the Minimax algorithm that reduces the number of nodes evaluated in the game tree by eliminating branches that cannot possibly influence the final decision. It helps to improve the efficiency of the Minimax algorithm by avoiding unnecessary computations.

### How can the Minimax algorithm be adapted for games with more than two players?

-For games with more than two players, the Minimax algorithm can be adapted by using a vector of utilities instead of a single utility value. This allows the algorithm to consider the different objectives or payoffs for each player and compute the Minimax values accordingly.

### Outlines

### 🎲 Introduction to the Minimax Algorithm

The paragraph introduces the Minimax algorithm, a method used for decision-making in games, particularly competitive ones. It explains that Minimax is typically applied in zero-sum games where one player's gain is another's loss, but it can also be used in non-zero-sum games. The concept of perfect information is discussed, meaning all players are aware of all previous moves. The paragraph sets the stage for a deeper dive into the algorithm by defining terms like 'initial state', 'player of state', 'actions of state', 'result of state and action', 'terminal state', and 'utility of state for player'. It also mentions that the algorithm will not cover games with imperfect information, such as rock-paper-scissors, where players make simultaneous moves without knowledge of the opponent's choice.

### 🌳 Building the Game Tree with Minimax

This section delves into the concept of a game tree, which is a theoretical model used to represent all possible sequences of moves in a game. The paragraph uses the example of tic-tac-toe to illustrate how a game tree is constructed, with nodes representing game states and branches representing possible moves. It introduces the concept of two players, Max and Min, representing the two sides of the game, where Max aims to maximize the outcome while Min tries to minimize it. The paragraph explains how the Minimax algorithm can be used to determine the best move at any given point in the game by considering the potential moves and counter-moves of both players.

### 🔍 Recursive Nature of the Minimax Algorithm

The paragraph explains the recursive nature of the Minimax algorithm, which is used to evaluate the best move by considering all possible outcomes of the game. It describes how the algorithm assigns values to intermediate nodes in the game tree, helping to determine the optimal strategy. The process involves checking if a node is a terminal node, and if not, calculating the maximum or minimum value based on whether it's Max's or Min's turn. The paragraph walks through an example using a simplified game tree to demonstrate how the algorithm computes the Minimax values for each node, ultimately leading to the best move for the current player.

### 📉 Minimizing Search with Minimax Algorithm

This section discusses the computational efficiency of the Minimax algorithm, noting that it involves a complete depth-first exploration of the game tree. It highlights the impracticality of using Minimax for games with large trees, such as chess, due to the extensive computational resources required. The paragraph introduces the concept of Alpha-Beta pruning, a method to reduce the number of nodes evaluated by the algorithm, thus improving its efficiency. It explains how Alpha-Beta pruning works by eliminating branches of the game tree that do not need to be explored, based on the current minimax values. The paragraph concludes by mentioning that Alpha-Beta pruning will be the subject of a future discussion.

### 🔄 Multiplayer Considerations in Minimax

The final paragraph briefly touches on the extension of the Minimax algorithm to multiplayer games. It points out that with more than two players, the utility function becomes a vector of utilities, one for each player. The paragraph suggests that the Minimax algorithm can still be applied in these scenarios, but it does not delve into the specifics of how the algorithm would be adapted for multiple players. It leaves the topic open for further exploration, possibly in subsequent content.

### Mindmap

### Keywords

### 💡Minimax algorithm

### 💡Zero-sum game

### 💡Perfect information

### 💡Game tree

### 💡Terminal state

### 💡Utility function

### 💡Recursive algorithm

### 💡Max and Min players

### 💡Alpha-Beta pruning

### 💡Multiplayer games

### Highlights

Introduction to the Minimax algorithm for smart game playing.

Minimax works in competitive games, often zero-sum.

Definition of a zero-sum game where one player's win is the other's loss.

Games considered have perfect information with all previous moves known.

Explanation of the concept of best moves in games with perfect information.

Terminology and functions used in the Minimax algorithm.

Description of game states, players, and actions within the algorithm.

Utility function and its role in evaluating game states.

Game representation for computer implementation of Minimax.

Concept of game trees and their importance in Minimax.

Example of a Tic Tac Toe game tree with players Max and Min.

How Minimax determines the best move at any given point in time.

Recursive algorithm of Minimax and its steps.

Computing intermediate node values in the Minimax algorithm.

Example of computing Minimax values for a game tree.

Pseudo code for implementing the Minimax algorithm.

Running time and space complexity of the Minimax algorithm.

Discussion on adapting Minimax for multiplayer games.

Introduction to Alpha Beta pruning as an optimization for Minimax.