Watch Google's AlphaGo computer take on world's best Go player

Developed in ancient China, Go is the oldest board game still played today.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 8, 2016 at 4:34 PM

SEOUL, March 8 (UPI) -- Artificial intelligence has dominated Jeopardy and bested chess masters. Now, computers are aiming to master Go, a 3,000-year-old abstract board game.

On Tuesday night, Google's Go-playing supercomputer AlphaGo will take on the world's best Go player, Lee Se-dol.

Tuesday night's game is the first of five Go matches scheduled between Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo. The face-off will take place in Seoul, South Korea, and will be live-streamed online starting at 11 p.m. EST.

Developed in ancient China, Go is the oldest board game still played today. The goal of the two-player abstract strategy game is to surround more territory than one's opponent by alternately placing stones, the black and white game pieces, on the intersection points of a 19x19 grid.

AlphaGo has already beat Fan Hui, the European Go champion, but most agree that Lee Se-dol is far superior to any other Go player on Earth.

Software engineers with Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence unit say Go is less easily defined by mathematical formulas.

At a press conference on Tuesday, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis called Go "the most elegant game humans ever invented."

"Go is primarily a game about intuition rather than brute-force calculation used in chess," Hassabis added. "There are more possible Go positions than there are atoms in the universe."

Though Lee admitted it was strange preparing for a non-human opponent, he predicts success.

"I don't think it will be a very close match," he said with confidence. "I believe it will be 5-0, or maybe 4-1. So the critical point for me will be to not lose one match."

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