Computer plays fantasy soccer in Britain

July 16, 2012 at 4:44 PM   |   Comments

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SOUTHAMPTON, England, July 16 (UPI) -- British researchers say their computer soccer manager is ready to take on all comers in the English Fantasy Football League when the season starts in August.

Computer scientists at the University of Southampton said test have shown their artificial soccer manager has ranked, on average, in the top 1 percent of the 2.5 million players in the official fantasy league run by the Barclays Premier League.

The artificial intelligence software uses an extensive series of algorithms to analyze players' performances and statistics before picking its soccer team each week, a Southampton release reported Monday.

A controlled experiment analyzing how it would have performed in last year's Premier League Fantasy Football League show it would have finished in the Top 500 players, the researchers said.

This year they will add a human element in the hope of improving their record still further, they said.

"Our previous tests have shown that a machine working on its own will perform better than millions of humans," computer scientist Sarvapali Ramchurn said.

"But a machine can't take into consideration if a player is injured [and still plays], has low morale or has personal issues and may not perform at his best."

The researchers say they are working on a Web application that will allow next season's players to get advice from the artificial manager and to play against it.

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