AI 2012 Angry Birds: Human vs Machine Challenge

We all know Angry Birds and enjoy playing it. Some levels are hard for us to solve, some are easy, but in the end we can usually solve most levels.

You might be surprised that Angry Birds is a very hard problem to solve for computers. Computers who "sit" in front of the screen and try to play Angry Birds have to solve many different problems. First, they have to be able to actually see the game and to detect which objects are located where and how they relate to each other. They have to learn properties of objects, how they behave when they are hit and how to shoot in order to hit them. Computers have to be able to predict the consequences of shots and how the game state will most likely change when they hit at a certain point in a certain angle. Based on these predictions, they can then compute the best shot in a given game state. Ideally, they can already plan a sequence of shots that will most likely kill all the pigs and achieve a high score. If the outcome of a shot is different from what has been predicted, then the original plan needs to be revised.

These kinds of problems are typically studied in the field of Artficial Intelligence (AI), more specifically in the areas of Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Planning and Diagnosis. In order to test the performance and applicability of methods they develop, researchers from the Artificial Intelligence group at the Australian National University have designed the Angry Birds AI challenge. The task of this challenge is to build a computer program that can successfully play Angry Birds, completely autonomously and without human intervention.

The first Angry Birds AI challenge will be held as part of the Australasian joint conference on Artificial Intelligence which is being held in Sydney from December 4-7, 2012. Participants from all around the world are competing to be the first Angry Birds AI champion. What makes it particularly challenging, is that participants only had six weeks time to develop their programs. The winner of the AI challenge will be determined on December 5.

The Human vs Machine Challenge

In the Angry Birds: Human vs Machine Challenge we give interested participants the opportunity to compete with the winners of the AI challenge. Participants can test if their Angry Birds playing skills are still better than those of the best AI players. This might be the last chance to beat AI and to become the first and quite possibly last human to win this challenge.

Participants will play the same ten Angry Birds levels that were used in the AI challenge. The ten levels have to be played in consecutive order and the next level can only be accessed once the current level has been solved. Current and previous levels can be played again, but participants are restricted to an overall limit of 60 shots for the whole challenge. Depending on the number of participants, we may also impose a time limit.

For each participant we will record their personal high scores for each of the ten levels. The participant with the highest combined score, human or machine, will be the winner of this challenge.


The challenge is open to everyone. Participation is free, but will be restricted if the number of participants is too large. Early registration is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Please register by sending an email to with subject line Human 2012 and the following information (note: gender and age are for statistical purposes only):


Registration for the AI'12 conference is not required to participate in this challenge.


Jochen Renz The Australian National University
Stephen Gould   The Australian National University
Charles Gretton The Australian National University
Patrik Haslum The Australian National University

Important Dates

Registration deadline:
    5 December 2012 (participation is limited and registration may be closed early)
Human vs Machine challenge:
    6 December 2012, 11am - 4pm at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel.