Google's AlphaGo computer outplays board game champion

By Marilyn Malara  |  March 12, 2016 at 4:23 PM
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SEOUL, March 12 (UPI) -- Google's AlphaGo supercomputer has successfully beat the world's best Go player, Lee Se-dol, in a best of five face-off.

The computer, developed by Google's DeepMind, outplayed its human opponent Saturday with over eight minutes left on the clock.

"To be honest, we are a bit stunned," DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said, according to CNN Money. "We came here to challenge Lee Se-dol, as we wanted to learn from him and see what AlphaGo was capable of."

Se-dol has played the AlphaGo computer in three consecutive matches since Wednesday. Although it has already won three out of five games, the computer and Se-dol will compete in two more matches.

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.

During the third game with Se-dol, Google noted the AlphaGo computer gained a large territory on the board, but Se-dol used "a few innovative tactics" to complicate the game.

"Today Lee was definitely playing his own game, from his strong opening to the complicated moves in the final kō," said American commentator Michael Redmond. "AlphaGo was ready for everything, including the kō fights, and was able to take the win. I'd like to congratulate the people who actually made this accomplishment possible, because it's a work of art."

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