AlphaGo is a program developed by DeepMind, a British AI company acquired by Google two years ago. This program secured his win with an astonishing 3 wins streak against 18 times world champion Le Se-dol in the game board of Go.
The ancient Chinese board game of Go has long been considered impossible for computers to play at a world-class level, despite similar breakthroughs in other games like chess and checkers. Go’s simple rules and elaborate possibilities have made it one of the most sought-after milestones in the field of AI research.
Sure, supercomputers have beaten chessmasters at their own game before (most noticeable the loss of Kasparov against IBM DeepBlue), but due to the extremely complex nature of the 5000-year old game of Go, this was an unprecedented upset that experts had predicted wouldn’t happen for another 10 years.
This particular yet very simple game consists in placing game pieces called stones on a 19×19 board, and the objective is to cover more area than your opponent. What is really incredible in this 3rd win is that this tricky situation, known as ko, that didn’t come up in the prior two matches, occurred. The program easily dealt with it, further confirming its superiority.
“To be honest we are a bit stunned and speechless,” said DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis. “AlphaGo can compute tens of thousand positions a second, but it’s amazing that Lee Se-dol is able to compete with that and push AlphaGo to the limit. We came here to challenge Lee Se-dol because we wanted to see what AlphaGo was capable of, and his amazing genius and creative skills have done that.”
DeepMind’s AlphaGo program has gone further than anyone else by using an advanced system based on deep neural networks and machine learning, which has seen it overwhelm Lee over the course of three games. This is History been made.