Bulls n' Cows

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Bulls n' Cows screenshot on Windows 7.

Bulls n' Cows was developed by Rose-Gaëlle Belinga[1] and Hsin-Yi Hou[2] as term project for Artificial Intelligence course in the Fall 2009. This game is a combination of the classic two-player old paper and pencil games for known as Master Mind®[3] and Bulls and Cows[4].



One player is the code-maker and the other one is the code-breaker. The code-maker selects a secret code and the code-breaker tries to find this code. This version of Bulls n' Cows allow the user to choose (in code-maker mode) or guess (in code-breaker mode) a 4 digits secret code from 1 to 6. The goal is for the a secret code to be guessed based on the feedback received after each guess[5]. In fact, this feedback represents the number of correct digits in the correct position (the Bulls), and the number of correct digits in the wrong position the Cows). Repeated digits within the pattern are permitted.
In the code-breaker mode, the application simply generates a random four-digit number meeting the aforementioned criteria, whereas in code-maker mode, the Intelligent Agent will break the code using Koyama and Lai's[6] optimization of Knuth's [7] Master Mind algorithm.


MasterBAC is copyrighted © 2009-2012 Auburn University. It may be redistributed freely providing that this copyright notice is included and the software remains in its original, unmodified form. The users may modify the software game for their own needs but ANY MODIFIED VERSION OF THE SOFTWARE MAY NOT BE REDISTRIBUTED. The software is provided "as is" with no guarantees of performance, functionality, compatibility, or technical support. In short: use of this software is at your own risk.

System Requirements

Hardware Requirements

  • Desktop or laptop computer.
  • Pentium 3 processor or above.
  • 512 MB of RAM or above.
  • 200MB of free space on hard disk.
  • Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs

Software Requirements

Windows XP or later.
The Bulls n' Cows application can also be compiled and executed on Linux and Mac with minor changes to the source code, but requires a functional copy of Qt Creator. It was developed and tested with Qt Creator and Designer version 4.5 (through 4.7) and works on later versions[8].



Bulls n' Cows installation instructions for Windows computers.

  • Administrative privileges required.
  • Default mode is "User as Code-Breaker"


Coming soon.


Coming soon.


Bulls n' Cows icon.

Bulls n' Cows User Manual


  1. "About Me". Retrieved May 9, 2011, from http://rosegaelle.com/about/
  2. "Hsin-Yi Hou"
  3. "Master Mind®". In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 9, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_(board_game)
  4. "Bulls and Cows". In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 9, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulls_and_cows
  5. S. Chen, S. Lin, L. Huang, S. Hsu, "Strategy Optimization for Deductive Games", European Journal of Operational Research, 183 (2007): 757–766.
  6. K. Koyama, T.W. Lai, "An Optimal Mastermind Strategy", Journal of Recreational Mathematics, 25 (1993): 251–256.
  7. D.E. Knuth, 1976-77. "The Computer as a Master Mind", Journal of Recreational Mathematics, 9 (1976): 1-6.
  8. "Qt Cross-Platform Application and UI Framework". Retrieved May 9, 2011, from http://qt.nokia.com/
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