Probabilistic Opponent-Model Search

H.H.L.M. Donkers*, J.W.H.M. Uiterwijk, H.J. van den Herik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A new approach for heuristic game-tree search, probabilistic opponent-model search (PrOM search), is proposed. It is based on standard opponent-model search (OM search). The new approach takes into account a multiple-opponent model. It incorporates uncertainty which mimics the uncertainty of a player about the behaviour of the opponent. Some theoretical results on PrOM search are derived. Implementations of both OM and PrOM search (both with beta -passing) are presented and best-case analyses are given. To investigate the computational efficiency, experiments are performed on random game trees. PrOM search appears to lead to serious computational costs when the search depth increases. To test the effectiveness of OM and PrOM search in practice, three tournaments in the game of LOA are performed. The tournaments suggest that PrOM search is more effective than alpha-beta search when search trees of the same depth are used. The tournaments also show that OM search performs not very good and sometimes even disastrous. In spite of the computational costs, the encouraging results: of the tournaments and the opportunity that PrOM search offers far actual opponent modelling during the search makes PrOM search a viable alternative to minimax-based search algorithms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-149
JournalInformation Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


  • games
  • heuristic search
  • opponent modelling
  • subjective probability
  • LOA

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