Naysayers forced to eat words as Google's AI masters ancient game of Go

The feat wasn't expected to happen for at least a decade

Credit: Martyn Williams

Credit: Martyn Williams

They said it couldn't be done, but Google's AI technology has proved them wrong by mastering the ancient Chinese game of Go roughly a decade earlier than anyone expected.

Tapping neural networks and advanced "tree search" programs, researchers from Google DeepMind created a system called AlphaGo that takes a different approach to the game than had been tried before.

In Go, the player's objective is to surround the opponent’s pieces by alternately placing black and white pieces on a 19-by-19-line grid while simultaneously avoiding having one’s own pieces surrounded. With more possible positions than there are atoms in the universe, Go has long been considered an ultimate challenge for artificial intelligence researchers.

Traditional AI efforts to master Go have focused on using search trees, a computer science technique used for locating specific values from within a set. AlphaGo, on the other hand, uses the more advanced Monte Carlo tree search approach often used in game playing. It also taps deep neural networks to mimic expert players and improve continuously by playing games against itself.

AlphaGo has won more than 99 percent of the games it's played against the strongest other Go programs and also defeated the human European champion by 5–0 in tournament games, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Nature.

In March, it will face its ultimate challenge: a 5-game match in Seoul against the legendary Lee Sedol, who has been the world's top-ranked Go player for the past decade.

Google acquired DeepMind Technologies in 2014, renaming the result Google DeepMind.

Facebook has also been working on AI to tackle the Go challenge and is "getting close," CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?