Richard Drew / AP

An AI program designed by the Microsoft-acquired Maluuba has achieved the first perfect score of 999,900 on the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man, per The Verge.

In 35 years, the best score achieved by a human is 266,330.

The method: The AI breaks up different portions of the game — like collecting pellets or avoiding ghosts — into 163 smaller chunks, assigning each task to an "agent." Each agent then submits its recommendation to a "senior manager," which makes the ultimate decision on how to move in the game. For example, the senior manager will always choose to avoid a ghost over collecting additional pellets.

The applications: Microsoft says this strategy of aggregating small-scale recommendations to achieve a large-scale goal can be applied to natural language processing or helping a company sift through sales leads.

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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 20,724,799 — Total deaths: 751,399— Total recoveries: 12,873,188Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,234,800 — Total deaths: 166,750 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 63,731,305Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Harris boosting Biden ticket with key voters

Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate — doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help.

The big picture: Black women especially, but also Black men, Hispanics and Democrats and independents across the board say they are more likely to vote for Biden with Harris on the ticket, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

50 mins ago - Technology

Epic sues Apple over developer tax as Fortnite is pulled from App Store

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fortnite maker Epic Games on Thursday escalated its battle over Apple's App Store tactics, suing the tech giant over antitrust claims while also baiting Apple into dropping Fortnite from the App Store.

The big picture: Epic is just one of several developers clashing with Apple. They argue the company harms competition by taking a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases and subscriptions and blocking most developers from getting around the tax by charging their users directly.