Way to Go: how Google`s computer beat the Chinese game`s world champ


Look: Smarties dropped on graph paper well, if they were black and white Smarties and the graph paper was made from wood. Which they are essentially aren`t. I don`t care. You understand. It`s an ancient Chinese parlor game with the counters that is played by 10s of millions of individuals, primarily in east Asia.

Is this the one that isn`t mahjong? That`s. Mahjong is more like rummy, whereas Go is more like chess.

And Go is the one that even the most effective computer systems worldwide can`t master? It was until today. Google`s DeepMind software AlphaGo has just beaten the world Go champion, Lee Se-dol of South Korea, in the first of a series of five matches.

So this is like the Go equivalent of that Kasparov v IBM s Deep Blue chess match in 1997? Yes. And there is a $1m (704,000) prize for the winner.

Poor old Lee. I was really shocked because I did not believe that I would lose the online game, he said. An error I made at the extremely beginning lasted until the very last.

He ought to most likely stop making mistakes then. You would make a terrific coach.

You bet I would. Especially if I understood the rules. Well, as I say, it is a bit like chess, simply simpler and more complicated. Eh? It`s easier insofar as two players take relies on position pieces, called stones, on the intersections of a grid, trying to seal areas and surround each other`s stones, which are then removed from the board.

Sounds extremely basic. Yes, except that with its 19x19 grid, you end up with an unimaginably vast number of possible positions more than the variety of atoms in the universe. Thus, the challenge, even for computers.

Why do they call it Go? Does it mean something unique in Chinese? It`s simply exactly what westerners call the game, based on the Japanese name igo. In Chinese, it`s known as w iq. That`s miles cooler. We should call it that. Exactly what does it suggest? Encirclement board game.

Chinese is such a romantic language. You bet it is. Do say: If computer systems are getting so clever, why does my web keep cutting out?. Don t state: Computers aren`t infinitely clever, simply cleverer than you.