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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
minimax
games An algorithm for choosing the next move in a two
player game. A player moves so as to maximise the minimum
value of his opponent's possible following moves. If it is my
turn to move, I give a value to each legal move I might make.
If the result of a move is an immediate win for me I give it
positive infinity and, if it is an immediate win for you,
negative infinity. The value to me of any other move is the
minimum of the values resulting from each of your possible
replies.
The above algorithm will give every move a value of positive
or negative infinity since the value of every move will be the
value of some final winning or losing move. This can be
extended if we can supply a heuristic evaluation function
which gives values to non-final game states without
considering all possible following complete sequences. We can
then limit the minimax algorithm to look only a certain number