At long last, the perfect score for arcade classic Ms. Pac-Man has been achieved, though not by a human. Maluuba ó a deep learning team acquired by Microsoft in January ó has created an AI system thatís learned how to reach the gameís maximum point value of 999,900 on Atari 2600, using a unique combination of reinforcement learning with a divide-and-conquer method.

AI researchers have a documented penchant for using video games to test machine learning; they better mimic real-world chaos in a controlled environment versus more static games like chess. In 2015, Googleís DeepMind AI was able to learn how to master 49 Atari games using reinforcement learning, which provides positive or negative feedback each time the AI attempts to solve a problem.

Though AI has conquered a wealth of retro games, Ms. Pac-Man has remained elusive for years, due to the gameís intentional lack of predictability. Turns out itís a toughie for humans as well. Many have tried to reach Ms. Pac-Manís top score, only coming as close as 266,330 on the Atari 2600 version. The gameís elusive 999,900 number though, has so far only been achieved by mortals via cheats.

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