Angry Birds: IJCAI 2021 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 2021 Angry Birds AI Competition is the ninth competition and is part of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) which is being held in Montreal, Canada from August 21-26, 2021. Participants from all around the world are competing to be the Angry Birds AI champion. The winner of the AI competition will be determined during the competiton.


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, human or machine, will be the winner of this challenge. 

The results of the 2019 Man vs Machine Challenge can be found here



The challenge is open to everyone who comes to our stand at IJCAI 2021 and plays the 4 new Angry Birds levels. Please enter your name and email address to be registered for the prizes. (Note: this might change, depending on wether the conference will be in person or virtual)

Every player can only participate once, no practicing of the levels permitted. You should be seeing the levels for the first time when you play, so please do not peak over other players shoulders. 



The winner of this challenge, human or machine, will receive a trophy and a certificate. 



  • Jochen Renz, Australian National University
  • Peng Zhang, Australian National University


Exact date and location to be announced.