August 16, 2008

Supercomputer wins game of Go

Filed under: Gaming,Science,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:53 pm

Engadget writes:

You know how Go nerds are always going on about how magical they are since supercomputer AI hasn’t yet cracked the ancient board game, and rarely beats even an average Go player? […] Well, those folks can wipe the smug grins off their faces as they’re faced with the sobering reality of defeat: Dutch supercomputer “Huygens” has defeated a human Go professional in an official match at the 24th Annual Congress of the game Go in Portland [USA].

The newly-minted supercomputer was aided by the recently-developed Monte-Carlo Tree Search algorithm, a whopping 60 teraflops of processing power and a considerable 9 stone handicap. Poor Kim MyungWan — who managed to beat the computer in three “blitz” games leading up to the actual match, and probably won’t be hanging up his Go hat just yet — didn’t stand a chance.

Huygens is the brand-new national supercomputer, named after Christiaan Huygens (mathematician, astronomer and physicist) and his father Constantijn (poet). I imagine it takes the tiniest of quantum computers to make this type of story a thing from the past. (A bit hard to explain, but quantum computers can calculate all the possible solutions to a problem at once.)


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