American Go E-Journal » Computer Go/AI

The Shanghai Restoration Project’s “AlphaGo” single

Sunday January 14, 2018

The advent of AlphaGo has inspired…well, many things. Chief among them, of course, is self-reflection among serious go players:2018.01.11_Alpha Go-SRP What is it like to be superseded by artificial intelligence? Conversely, what can AlphaGo teach us about being human? Google’s AI inspired a movie, a belief that future health care will be better, endless cartoons and the belief that soon Al will be able to create knowledge itself. But music? It seems so. The Shanghai Restoration Project (SRP), a contemporary electronic music duo of Dave Liang and Sun Yunfan, recently dropped their new album R.U.R., with a single entitled “Alpha Go.” The group tells the E-Journal that R.U.R. explores a world in where robots have supplanted the extinct human civilization that predated them. ‘Alpha Go,’ the musicians say, is both “a tribute and an elegy” to Ke Jie’s defeat by the Google AI; it mixes in human elements with decidedly artificial ones. The tune is an airy, abstract melody. It’s evenly paced but turns on a dime, delivered by Yunfan ‘s vocals, which are digitally manipulated. Both musicians played go growing up, with Ms. Sun playing briefly for her school team. The cover art for the album is currently on display at NYC’s Society Of Illustrators until Jan 27 as part of the Illustrators 60 exhibition. “Alpha Go” can be listened to on YouTube or the SRP website.
Charles “Doc” Sade, with thanks to Santana Afton for the tip

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AlphaGo doc live now on Netflix; both go docs coming to Portland

Thursday January 4, 2018

“AlphaGo”  — the 2017 documentary about the 2016 showdown between the AlphaGo AI and Lee Sedol, is now streaming on 2018.01.04_alphago-movieNetflix. Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?

Both “AlphaGo” and “The Surrounding Game” – which follows the lives of three young Americans vying to become the first-ever Western professional players — will screen later this month in Portland, OR. The Surrounding Game screens on Jan. 13th at 7:30 and AlphaGo on Jan. 14th at 7:30, both at the Documentary Film Center (corner of NE Williams and Tillamook). “We’re also going to hold a small teaching session at 6PM on the 14th for new players to learn how to play the game. Players can sign up on the 13th for the free teaching session,” reports Peter Freedman.

“We’ll be selling tickets for $8 per night or $14 for both nights,” Freedman adds; email him at pleefreedman1@comcast.net. Raffle tickets will be a dollar and will be sold at the Surrounding Game screening. The raffle drawing will occur at the end of the screening. “We’ll have some popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages for free and beer for sale on both nights.”

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AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: An early mistake, then things get interesting

Sunday December 17, 2017

“I think Master made a mistake fairly early in this game,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his fourth commentary on the AG Zero2017.12.17_ag-ag-zero-master-4 games. “Then it was supposed to be an easy game for Zero, but Zero made it really interesting, and there are points in the game where I think Master had a chance to win. There’s a big fight toward the end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Note: The video commentary team will be taking a break over the holidays to rest up, recharge and work on plans for 2018. Watch for a 2017 recap interview coming soon and more updates and videos in the New Year!

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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Go miscellany Year End Edition (1 of 3)

Monday December 11, 2017

Being a collection of interesting items – in no particular order – that have landed in our in-box in recent months but never 2017.12.11-legend-5-rings-l5c05_ide_tadaji_artmade it into the E-Journal.

Legend of the Five Rings: Fantasy Flight Games publishes a card game called “Legend of the Five Rings” which takes inspiration from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean history and legend. A short story posted to FFG’s website contains an image of a gentleman engaged in an interesting game of go while holding a white stone correctly. The short story, itself, contains a discussion between two characters about Shogi, with a passing comment that one prefers the “purity” of go.
- Joe Marino

Atari origins: “Started in 1972, Atari was named by one of its founders, Nolan Bushnell, for a move in the ancient Asian game of Go. ‘Atari was what you said to your opponent if you put their stones in jeopardy, kind of like check in chess,’ Mr. Bushnell explained in an interview. ‘I just thought it was a cool word and a cool name.’ From Atari (Remember It?), a New Console With Old Games, in The New York Times 11/24/2017
Bushnell gave the keynote address at the 2012 Go Congress.
- Ted Terpstra

Can A.I. Be Taught to Explain Itself? As machine learning becomes more powerful, the field’s researchers increasingly find themselves unable to account for what their algorithms know — or how they know it.
- From The New York Times, 11/21/2017

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AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: A similar “taste” but things turn sour quickly

Friday December 8, 2017

“AG Zero and the Ke Jie version sort of resemble each other, in the way that they play around the 3-3 invasions, and there’s a 2017.12.08_ag-ag-zero-master-3‘taste’ to their play that’s quite similar,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his third commentary on the AG Zero games. “That said, the Ke Jie version tends to jump into fights more quickly and that’s very exciting, but in the Zero version, there’s a lot of hidden reading, like we saw in Game 2. Just as Master did against human players, Zero is controlling the game to a much greater degree, and a lot of the reading is not actually coming out on the board.”

“In this game, Master has black again and will be playing a lot of moves towards the center,” Redmond says. “So there are lot of stones floating around in the center of the board and looking kind of neat. I think Master had a good opening in this game and then there’s one move I really don’t like, that’s really the turning point of the game. And just like when I’m playing a formidable player, I find that just one move can turn things very sour quite quickly.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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Google’s AlphaZero destroys highest-rated chess engine in 100-game match

Thursday December 7, 2017

Chess changed forever today. And maybe the rest of the world did, too.2017.12.07_alphazero-stockfish

A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.

Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn’t stand a chance. AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses.

Oh, and it took AlphaZero only four hours to “learn” chess. Sorry humans, you had a good run.

That’s right — the programmers of AlphaZero, housed within the DeepMind division of Google, had it use a type of “machine learning,” specifically reinforcement learning. Put more plainly, AlphaZero was not “taught” the game in the traditional sense. That means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences 2017.12.07_michael-adams-demis-hassabisbetween center pawns and side pawns.

This would be akin to a robot being given access to thousands of metal bits and parts, but no knowledge of a combustion engine, then it experiments numerous times with every combination possible until it builds a Ferrari. That’s all in less time that it takes to watch the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The program had four hours to play itself many, many times, thereby becoming its own teacher.

“It’s a remarkable achievement, even if we should have expected it after AlphaGo,” GM Garry Kasparov told Chess.com. “It approaches the ‘Type B,’ human-like approach to machine chess dreamt of by Claude Shannon and Alan Turing instead of brute force.”

You can read the full paper here. GM Peter Heine Nielsen said that “After reading the paper but especially seeing the games I thought, well, I always wondered how it would be if a superior species landed on earth and showed us how they play chess. I feel now I know.”

After the Stockfish match, AlphaZero then “trained” for only two hours and then beat the best Shogi-playing computer program “Elmo.”

“[This is] actual artificial intelligence,” said Nielsen. “It goes from having something that’s relevant to chess to something that’s gonna win Nobel Prizes or even bigger than Nobel Prizes. I think it’s basically cool for us that they also decided to do four hours on chess because we get a lot of knowledge. We feel it’s a great day for chess but of course it goes so much further.”

Excerpted from Mike Klein’s December 6 report on chess.com. photo: Deepmind’s Demis Hassabis (right) playing with Michael Adams at the ProBiz event at Google Headquarters London just a few days ago. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

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AlphaGo doc now available to rent or buy

Wednesday December 6, 2017

“AlphaGo,” the 2016 documentary about the historic AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, is now available on the Google “Play” store for2017.12.06_alphaGo-movie rental and purchase.
“AlphaGo” chronicles a journey from the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind, to Seoul, where a legendary go master faces an unproven AI challenger. As the drama unfolds, questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What will it teach us about humanity?

“This is such a beautiful telling of this historic moment,” comments Ben Murdoch on the site. “An intimate and at times tense portrayal of a milestone moment in AI history. Captivating!” says Marek Barwiński.

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AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: A Master misread?

Sunday December 3, 2017

“Although the openings in this series are pretty repetitive, the games themselves vary,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his2017.12.01_ag-ag-zero-master-2 second commentary on the AG Zero games. “So in some, you’ll see a half-point game, and in others we’ll see Master crash. This game is interesting because it’s the first time that Zero has black. Also, later in the game, I get the feeling that Master is acting like it did in the 60-game series earlier this year against top human players, where it thinks its winning and is sort of closing up shop and wrapping up the game. So I wonder whether it mis-read a tsume-go — actually a 60-move sequence — in this game.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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AlphaGo Zero series to officially launch on Black Friday

Thursday November 23, 2017

After taking last Friday off, Michael Redmond’s AlphaGo video commentary series officially launches an AG Zero-Master series Friday at 6p 2017.11.24_ag-ag-zero-master-1EDT, with at least four more Zero-Master commentaries planned through the end of the year. Click here for the first Zero-Master commentary.

“Zero shows a strong2017.11.23_AlphaGo Zero vs. Master with Michael Redmond 9p Game 1 bias for territory, and this makes it’s overall game plan relatively easy to understand,” says Redmond. “Quite often we will see Zero diving into Master’s moyo, with some exciting fighting.”

Meanwhile, click here to check out Redmond’s exploration of Zero’s main openings and here for a playlist of 15 Redmond commentaries on the AlphaGo self-play games.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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DeepMind has yet to find out how smart its AlphaGo Zero AI could be

Monday November 13, 2017

“Perhaps the most interesting thing about AlphaGo Zero, though, isn’t how fast it was able to do what it did, or with such efficacy, but also that2017.11.12_hassabis-techcrunch it ultimately didn’t even achieve its full potential,” reports TechCrunch. “DeepMind CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis explained on stage at Google’s Go North conference in Toronto that the company actually shut down the experiment before it could determine the upper limits of AlphaGo Zero’s maximum intelligence.”

“We never actually found the limit of how good this version of AlphaGo could get,” he said. “We needed the computers for something else.”

Hassabis said that DeepMind may spin up AlphaGo Zero again in future to find out how much further it can go, though the main benefit of that exercise might be to help teach human AlphaGo players about additional, “alien” moves and stratagems that they can study to improve their own play.

PLUS: The October issue of Games magazine includes “A God of Go: AlphaGo Crosses the Next Frontier of Artificial Intelligence”

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