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GO: The Strategic, Zero Sum, Deterministic Board Game of Perfect Information

edited August 2006 in Simulacra
When Garry Kasparov was beaten, to his furious humiliation, by IBM's Deep Blue chess computer in 1997, it left human players pondering their future. Draughts, Othello, backgammon, Scrabble: by the start of this century, each had been all but conquered by machines.

Igo on the GoBut don't worry. Almost a decade later, with Moore's Law still at work, there is still a board game in which humans reign supreme. The game is Go, an oriental game of strategy. It sounds superficially easy. The board is a 19 by 19 grid of intersecting lines. The pieces (called "stones") are black or white, and identical. Once placed on the board, they do not move (unless surrounded and captured) or change colour. The object is to use one's stones to surround as many blank intersections (called "territory") as possible. And that's about it.

Even the lure of a US$1 million prize for the first program to beat a human professional went uncollected after the deadline passed in 2000. No program has yet come close to meeting the challenge. Now, however, there may be a new attack on this outpost of humanity. At Microsoft's research centre in Cambridge, scientists are taking a simpler approach to working out how to beat the best humans. They're telling their program what the best humans did against each other in thousands of games, providing a vast repertoire of millions of moves. Are computers about to invade another piece of our gameplaying territory? - Guardian


  • It is unfair. The same happen to Kasparov. The computer knew ALL Kasparov's games but Kasparov wasn't allowed to see any Deep Blue's moves.
  • Kasparov beat it in a few rounds, even if Deep Blue (or Deeper Blue, the upgraded version that beat him properly in 1997) won more, and thus the match itself. Definitely counts for something. Also, "the rules provided for the developers to modify the program between games, an opportunity they took with abandon. The code was modified between games to understand Kasparov's playstyle better, allowing it to avoid a trap in the final game that the AI had fallen for twice before” (Wikipedia)

    So human intelligence had to help the machine out. It wasn't self-reflexive enough to correct its own mistakes. I wonder if there's a stronger version out there that could win without human assistance.

    I'd also like to see two Deep Blue's battle it out... although it'd probably result in a continual draw.
  • You must be back in the land of Eng now, Danieru. You'll have to pass on to me some of the 'Go' secrets taught to you by elderly orientals.
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