Google’s AlphaGo beats world champion of Chinese board game Go

Google’s DeepMind unit run artificial intelligence (AI) programme “AlphaGo” has defeated legendary player Lee Se-dol in Go in first of the five matches. Go is a complex Chinese board game that is considered the ultimate for machine intelligence. Goa game is played by more than 40 million people worldwide. The number of possible positions in the game are more than the number of atoms in the universe. The game involves players taking turns to place black or white stones on a board, trying to capture the opponent’s stones or surround empty space to make points of territory.

The win came in the first tie of the five-match series being held in Seoul, South Korea. The tournament, “Google Deepmind Challenge match”, started on March 8 and will conclude on March 15.  “Lee resigned after about three-and-a-half hours, with 28 minutes and 28 seconds remaining on his clock. The series is the first time a professional 9-dan Go player has taken on a computer, and Lee is competing for a $1 million prize,” The Verge’s Sam Byford reported

Lee is a South Korean professional Go player. He was ranked second in international titles. Before the matches, Lee had said that he could win against AlphaGo. “I have heard that Google DeepMind’s AI is surprisingly strong and getting stronger, but I am confident that I can win at least this time,” he said, earlier this year.

Google’s artificial intelligence arm, DeepMind, said that its programme ‘AlphaGo’ combines an advanced tree search with deep neural networks. “AlphaGo” had defeated Fan Hui  in January this year. Hui is the European champion of the game.

“After all the training, we put AlphaGo to the test and held a tournament between AlphaGo and the other top programmes at the forefront of computer Go,” a Google’s DeepMind executive had said.

Facebook has been working on a similar AI for beating Go. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that his artificial intelligence (AI) scientists are “getting close”.

“The ancient Chinese game of Go is one of the last games where the best human players can still beat the best artificial intelligence players. Scientists have been trying to teach computers to win at Go for 20 years,” he wrote in a Facebook post in January.

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