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Artificial Football Manager Hoping to Top the Fantasy Football League

Barclays Premier League

Credit: Barclays Premier League

Researchers at the University of Southampton plan to participate in the English Fantasy Football League with an artificial soccer manager.

The new Barclays Premier League season begins in August, and will give the artificial intelligence software an opportunity to play against human competitors as well as collaborate with humans. The software uses a series of algorithms to analyze the performance and statistics of soccer players before selecting a lineup each week.

The team tested the software in controlled experiments on last year's Premier Fantasy Football League, and the program ranked on average in the top 1 percent of the 2.5 million fantasy players.

"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," says Southampton's Sarvapali Ramchurn. "So this time we will be using humans and the machine working together as a team so that the humans can add this subtle information into the system and, together with the software's extensive analysis, it will hopefully improve the machine's success rate, though in some cases, this could also potentially make it perform worse if humans put in inaccurate information."

From University of Southampton (United Kingdom) 
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