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The First Level of Super Mario Bros. is Easy...

By Norman Chan

A computer scientist presents a program that approaches NES games like mathematical problems.

At the recent SIGBOVIK 2013 spoof programming conference, computer scientist Tom Murphy demonstrated his simple program that uses a basic mathematical technique called Lexicographic ordering to learn how to play Super Mario Bros. on the NES. One part of the program recorded all the data from the console while Murphy played the game himself, and the other part ingested that data to create a sequence that optimizes Mario's path to beat the level (ie. achieve a high score). Here's Murphy explaining his program.