Angry Birds: IJCAI 2016 Man 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 Artificial 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 Competition. The task of this competition is to build an intelligent computer program that can successfully play Angry Birds, completely autonomously and without human intervention. The long term goal is to be able to beat the best human players. 

The IJCAI 2016 Angry Birds AI Competition is the fifth competition and is part of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) which is being held in New York, USA from July 9-15, 2016. Participants from all around the world are competing to be the Angry Birds AI champion. The winner of the AI competition will be determined on July 14.


The Man vs Machine Challenge

In the Angry Birds: Man vs Machine Challenge we give interested participants the opportunity to compete with the winners of the AI competition. 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 quite possibly the last human to win this challenge.

Participants will play a number of Angry Birds levels within a given time limit. Current and previous levels can be played again. For each participant we will record their personal high scores for each of the solved levels. Once the human participants are finished, we will run the best Angry Birds agents from the AI competition on the same levels with the same time limit. 

The participant with the highest combined score, man or machine, will be the winner of this challenge. 

The results of the 2015 Man vs Machine Challenge can be found here



The challenge is open to everyone. Registration will open on 11 July 2016. Since places are limited, registration will be on a first come first serve basis. Early registration is recommended to avoid disappointment.



The winner of this challenge, man or machine, will be awarded with a trophy and a certificate.



  • Jochen Renz, Australian National University
  • XiaoYu (Gary) Ge, Australian National University
  • Peng Zhang, Australian National University


Important Dates

Registration opens:
     11 July 2016 (participation is limited and registration may be closed early)
Man vs Machine challenge:
    15 July 2016 at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

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