Computer Wins Go Game Against Master, But Lets Not Get Too Excited Yet

Go Game photo

This story doesn’t seem to have been picked up by the media yet (and maybe it won’t, but these kinds of things usually are because we like to know in which activities we can still beat machines):

PARIS, April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — During the Go Tournament in Paris, staged between 22 and 24 March 2008 by the French Go Federation (FFG), the MoGo artificial intelligence (IA) engine developed by INRIA – the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control – running on a Bull NovaScale supercomputer, won a 9×9 game of Go against professional 5th DAN Catalin Taranu. This was the first ever officially sanctioned ‘non blitz’ victory of a ‘machine’ over a Go Master.

That’s impressive on its own, but lets not jump the gun and claim that humans have been defeated at Go in the way that they have been defeated at Chess (Kasparov v. Deep Blue, 1997). The reason for that is that a board game usually has 361 squares (19 x 19), and this one only had 81 (9 x 9).

That makes quite a big difference in the size of the ‘tree’ of possible moves that has to be searched by the computer, which means that the brute force approach is less effective and so the software has to be smarter in how it approaches strategy and tactics to perform well.

Not surprisingly the Go master beat the computer in a game on a 19 x 19 board, and that with a nine-stone handicap. But even after that, he was impressed:

[…] the Go Master nevertheless rated the IA system as ‘approaching Dan standard’ in a performance that promises some formidable battles to come between man and machine.

Formidable battles indeed! The final one will be fought over Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

Source: Latest Advance in Artificial Intelligence: Computer Wins a Game Against a Go Master

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3 Responses to “Computer Wins Go Game Against Master, But Lets Not Get Too Excited Yet”

  1. felix Says:

    Also, even though a 5 Dan player isn’t bad, the top rank is 9 dan. Yes, you are right, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited… yet

  2. James Dow Allen Says:

    Just discovered your website, Michael! Looks very good! Looks fun and informative!

    Almost completely off the subject (especially since computer checkers is now “solved”) but, since computer programs tend to be either poor or invincible, I’ve always thought the Marion Tinsley story was an amazing one about human uniqueness:

    For a few years the best checkers program could beat every single human on the planet EXCEPT Marion Tinsley!

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