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This is my 2048 puzzle AI module written in C for a 2048 contest.

The time limit of move is average 0.01 seconds for 100 games.

Warning: be careful with numbers in log

Don't believe performance numbers (time) in git commit log because

  1. Hyperthreading make time measurement difficult
  2. I often change compiler version but didn't keep note in the commit log.
  3. The machine was often busy on other tasks at the same time the tests ran.

Don't believe score numbers in git commit log because

  1. I used bad random number generator before commit 9a21b5. It always generates tile 2 before the fix.

So, read numbers carefully. Only compare those numbers relatively, don't trust the absolute values.


  • Overall
    • The heuristic function is based on my 2048-python, which is highly inspired by ovolve's description in stackoverflow 2048.
    • Search algorithm is highly inspired by nneonneo's 2048 AI. Although I wrote from scratch, I wrote mine after read his code and borrowed several ideas.
  • Search:
    • expectiminimax. It can search 10+ steps ahead by pruning low possibility nodes.
    • helper minimax search (only consider tile-2) to avoid dead. It can search 20+ steps ahead.
    • includes xificurk's adaptive depth search
  • Eval: inspired from the stackoverflow article, combined with monotoneness, smoothness, and number of blank tile.
    • Weighting of these scores are tuned by hand first. And minor tuned by automatic program. I don't know the reason of those magic numbers ;)
  • Optimization:
    • Similar to, or borrowed from nneonneo/2048-ai
      • Bit operations
      • Move and score by table lookup
      • Cut some 4 tile since the probability is low
    • Enhanced or different to nneonneo/2048-ai
      • Faster bit operations.
      • Cache: use more than one hash table. Fixed size hash table to avoid allocation. Also take 'depth' into consideration.
      • Use 64 bits for score calculation. (32 bits are not enough and may loss some precision)
    • Optimization for contest:
      • time control (average 100 moves per sec)
      • embed prebuild optimized (gcc4.6 -O3) binary. Because the contest host use gcc4.2 -O2.


tag contest-version is the version I submitted for contest.

The contest result (100 runs):

max score=625260
avg score=277965.00
max tile=32768
2048 rate=100%
4096 rate=100%
8192 rate=96%
16384 rate=67%
32768 rate=2%

p.s. After contest-version, I made some improvements but the program become much slower.



BSD license


2048 ai in C



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