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September 3, 2008

Computer Beats Pro at US Go Congress

Slashdot | Computer Beats Pro At US Go Congress
Bob Hearn writes:

“I was in attendance at the US Go Congress match yesterday where history was made: the go program MoGo, running on an 800-core supercomputer, beat 8-dan professional go player Myungwan Kim in a 9-stone handicap game. Most in the audience were shocked at the computer’s performance; it was naturally assumed that the computer would be slaughtered, as usual. Go is often seen as the last bastion of human superiority over computers in the domain of board games. But if Moore’s law continues to hold up, today’s result suggests that the days of human superiority may be numbered.”

I am a Go player, and started my ph.d. research on computer approaches to go in the early 90’s. This is an amazing achievement. Some commentators have downplayed the significance because the Go program received a 9-stone handicap. But what they don’t realize is that a serious amateur Go player (like myself) would not likely be able to beat a professional 8-dan player with that same handicap.
The approach used by these Go programs, which involves simulating millions of random games to the very end and backing up the outcomes to select the best current move, is similar to what my friend Bruce Abramson developed in his PhD work on “Expected Outcome” model of learning and search.
It’s interesting to see these ideas take 20 years to yield fruit.
I think we’re going to see a lot more progress based on AI ideas developed in the 80’s and early 90’s over the next 5 years.
My prediction for when a Go program beats a human professional with no handicap: 2015.

Posted by barney at September 3, 2008 11:00 am

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