How do machines learn? Don’t they just blindly follow rules? You can build a machine just from cups and sweets that learns how to beat humans at simple games. It learns from its mistakes (because you eat its sweets when it loses!) Let’s see how by building one to play the game of Hexapawn.
The Sweet Learning Computer is just a tastier version of Donald Michie’s Matchbox Learning Computer (MENACE). Donald Michie also worked at Bletchley Park helping crack German ciphers during the war.
You will also need :
- a set of 24 transparent plastic cups,
- Starburst Sweets (Original) or other similar wrapped sweets in the same colours: 14 Red, 14 Green, 14 Orange and 13 Purple
- A large 3 x 3 board (e.g. a garden size noughts and crosses board)
- 3 X and 3 O pieces (e.g. write X and Os on the back of paper plates)
- Pen and squared paper to plot the progress of the sweet computer learning.
See also the cs4fn machine learning pages which includes an article describing the Sweet Learning Computer for students