How Tetris explains the promise of the ultimate algorithm

In The Master Algorithm, computer scientist Pedro Domingos (not pictured) argues that beating Tetris with an algorithm could solve a range of big problems. (Richard Drew/AP)Pedro Domingos is a serious guy with big ambitions. He wrote his new book, The Master Algorithm, to drive interest in machine learning, which he believes could remake our lives for the better. But he also calls mastering Tetris, “one of the most useful things you could ever do.” If you’re confused, you’re forgiven. After all, how important is a trivial game? But hear Domingos out. He sees something totally different when he looks at Tetris. For the University of Washington computer science professor, Tetris as an example of an NP-complete problem, a term computer scientists use. It’s a problem we have no solution for, but if we…

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