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AlphaGo film finds the humanity in the code

Saturday April 22, 2017

Machine beat man last year but at last night’s world premiere of “AlphaGo,” the people were the stars. The documentary about the 2016 AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and “chronicles Google’s DeepMind team as it prepares to test the limits of its rapidly-evolving AI technology,” writes Tribeca film programmer Ian Hollander. “The film pits machine against 2017.04.22_alphago-premiere-panelman, and reveals as much about the workings of the human mind as it does the future of AI.” The film has four more showings at Tribeca this week (Sunday at 4:15, Monday 6:15, Wednesday 9:15 and Thursday 4p) and will then screen Friday night at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in Washington, DC to cap the Grand Opening of the National Go Center (stay tuned for details on tickets).

Director Greg Kohs has pulled off the impressive feat of making a film about go that will appeal to both players and non-players. There is, of course, plenty of go, and, for those who followed last year’s match, the film offers a chance not only to revisit the most momentous match in go history, but to venture behind the scenes to see what the DeepMind crew was seeing, thinking and feeling as their creation took on the legendary Lee Sedol. Kohs’ team also captures wonderful small moments that will resonate with go players, like a close-up of Lee’s fingers tapping as he considers a move, or a longshot of Lee from above on an empty terrace as he smokes a cigarette while AlphaGo, oblivious to the presence or absence of its opponent, plays move 37, the famous gasp-inducing shoulder-hit in Game 2. Kohs then takes us inside the AlphaGo team’s room where they explain that that the program calculated that there was a one-in-ten-thousand chance that a human would make that move, yet decided to play it anyway. 

As fascinating as it is to finally “see” AlphaGo in the whiteboard scribbles, screens of data and the laptop that sits next to programmer Aja Huang as he plays AlphaGo’s moves, it’s the dramatic and ultimately deeply emotional and satisfying journey of the DeepMind team that really drives the film. CEO Demis Hassabis, along with programmers Aja Huang and David Silver, are all clearly brilliant and intensely driven, but like go professional Fan Hui, they find beauty and poetry in the lines of code that increasingly shape all our lives. More than that, they find humanity. “To be a master, you must crush the cage of everything you know,” Fan Hui said after Friday night’s screening. “We asked AlphaGo to win a game,” added David Silver, “but we can use AI to win at other things, to solve other problems.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo (l-r): “AlphaGo” director Greg Kohs, Fan Hui, David Silver, Demis Hassabis and Wired writer Cade Metz. 

 

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Teacher of the Year Nominations Sought

Saturday April 22, 2017

photo-3-552x600Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are due by May 21st. Presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress, the award  recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner  will receive an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress.  To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations are due by May 21st and should include a description of the teacher’s activities,  how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo:  Paul Lockhart, 2016 AGF Teacher of the Year, working with students in New York.  Read more about Lockhart’s work here.

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The Power Report: The 5th Electric Sage tournament; Motoki to challenge for Honinbo; Iyama leads Meijin league

Wednesday April 19, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

The 5th Electric Sage tournament: 
This is a tournament in which go-playing computer programs challenge human players. The tournament is organized by the Entertainment & Cognitive Sciences Research Station at the University of Electro-Communications and was held on March 26. The Chinese program FineArt and the Japanese program DeepZenGo both played games with Ichiriki Ryo 7P and both won.
This was the first time that the games were played on even. In the previous four terms, the results had been 50-50 with programs taking four or three stones. FineArt took black against Ichiriki and secured a resignation after 157 moves. DeepZenGo took white and won by resignation after 162 moves. An interesting point came up in the endgame of FineArt’s game. It could have won big by playing a move that would have won a capturing race, but it played a small endgame move that still gave it a win. The program doesn’t “care” what the winning margin is so long as it wins.

Motoki to challenge for Honinbo: All the games in the final round of the 72nd Honinbo League were played on 2017.04.19_Motok L beats Ko IsoApril 6. Three players were still in the running to win the league: Motoki Katsuya 7P on 5-1 and Ko Iso 8P and Hane Naoki 9P, both on 4-2. Motoki was in the best position, as he would qualify for a play-off even if he lost. As it happened, he was matched against Ko. Taking white, he beat him by resignation, so he avoided a play-off.  On his debut in the previous league, Motoki (at left) surprised fans by taking second place; this time he improved on that and will make his title-match debut. Becoming the Honinbo challenger also 2017.04.19_Motoki wins Hon.Leagueearned him promotion to 8-dan (effective as of April 7).
Hane (B) beat Cho U 9P by resignation; his 5-2 score earned him second place, a big improvement on the previous league, in which he lost his place. Cho ended on 3-4 and lost his place. Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig. The former took third place with 4-3, and the latter, the number-one ranked player in the league, lost his place with 3-3. The final game was between two players who had already lost their places: Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by 2.5 points. Yuki ended on 2-5 and Mitani on 1-6.
Motoki, aged 21 (birthday on August 2), is considered one of the contenders in the post-Iyama group, mainly because of his performance in the Honinbo League. He has won one junior title, the 9th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup in 2014. The title match with Iyama will start on May 9. At 21 years eight months, Motoki will be the third-youngest challenger, following Ida Atsushi (20 exactly) and Cho U (21 years three months). Motoki has not yet played any official games with Iyama, but he mentioned that he had lost all of the ten or so unofficial games they had played.

Iyama leads Meijin league: Not surprisingly, in view of his sextuple crown, Iyama Yuta started out as the favorite in2017.04.19 Meijin League the 42nd Meijin League and he has lived up to that billing. After five rounds, he is the only undefeated player; he has already had his bye, so his score is 4-0. His closest rival is Yamashita Keigo, who is on 4-1. The two will play each other in the 7th round, which is in June.
Recent results:
(March 27) Iyama (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Yamashita (B) beat Kono Rin by resig.
(April 13) Iyama (B) beat Kono Rin by resig.; Yamashita (W) beat Cho U by resig.

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AGA Master Review Series, Game 37: Master [B] vs. Park Yeonghun 9p [W]

Wednesday April 19, 2017

Ryan Li 1p and Stephanie Yin 1p, hosted by Andrew Jackson, provide commentary of Master’s (AlphaGo) 37th game. In this 2017.04.19_AGA Master Review Series, Game 37game, Master plays black against Park Yeonghun 9p.
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Mexico tapped to host first Latin American Go Congress

Wednesday April 19, 2017

logo-amgoMexico has been chosen as the host country for this year’s Ibero American Go Championship (CIG) the biggest go event in Latin American.  “Last year we launched the first Pandanet Go Latin American Team Championship (PGLATC) a 10-team league with teams formed of the top players of each participating country” reports Mexican Go Association’s president Emil García. The agreement with Pandanet is that the top two teams at the end of the league will get the chance to play an over the board final  at the CIG in Mexico- with travel expenses sponsored by Pandanet.  More information about the league can be found here.  “Our idea  is to make this a Latin American Go Congress, run both the CIG and the PGLATC final plus some activities with pro players for the participants, in the fashion of the US Go Congress or the European Go Congress,” adds García.

The event is planned to take place in Cancun, Mexico on October 13th-15th, 2017.  More information will be available soon on the Mexican Go Association’s new website.
- Siddhartha Avila, Latin American Correspondent for the E-Journal.

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Problem of the Week

Avoiding Inefficiency

Black to play