American Go E-Journal » Computer Go/AI

AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol: Match schedule and details

Tuesday March 8, 2016

The much anticipated five game match between Lee Sedol 9P and Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo begins this week, on Wednesday, March 9 2016.03.02_DeepMind - YouTube(March 8 for American viewers). Here is the match schedule, along with details of how you can watch and timezone conversions, courtesy Go Game Guru.
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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Humanity the winner at Deep Mind Challenge Match, Google Chief Says

Monday March 7, 2016

“The winner here, no matter who wins, is humanity,” said Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt at Tuesday’s press conference launching2016.03.08_google-press-conf the Google Deep Mind Challenge Match between Google’s AlphaGo and world champion Lee Sedol 9P. Alphabet is the parent company of Google. Hundreds of journalists crowded into the 6th-floor ballroom at the Four Seasons in downtown Seoul. Camera flashes exploded as Schmidt took the stage to proclaim that “This is a great day for humanity. Humans will be smarter, the world will be a better place.” Deep Mind CEO Demis Hassabis called go “The most elegant game humans have ever invented.” Hassabis, a go player himself, noted that because of go’s complexity, “It’s been a longstanding challenge for the AI community to master this game.” Lee Sedol, who a few weeks ago confidently predicted he would defeat AlphaGo, adopted a more circumspect approach this time. “Playing against a machine is very different from an actual human opponent,” the world’s Number 1 told the BBC. “Normally, you can sense your opponent’s breathing, their energy. And lots of times you make decisions which are dependent on the physical reactions of the person you’re playing against. With a machine, you can’t do that.” Indeed, asked about AlphaGo’s strengths, Hassabis sais that “AlphaGo will never get tired and it won’t be intimidated, unlike a human opponent.” Even so, Hassabis said, “We’re many decades away from a real human AI; we’re still playing games.” And Sedol turned a bit philosophical at the end of the press conference, quietly saying that “If I get defeated it might be negative for go, but it is inevitable in this modern life. But it won’t destroy the value of go itself.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: (l-r): Hassabis, Lee & Schmidt

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Your Move/Readers Write: Computer Chess v. Go is Apples & Oranges

Sunday March 6, 2016

“Apples and oranges,” writes Chris Uzal in response to our 2/29 report, Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go “Chess has not come to terms with the fact that the game is over. Kasparov lost almost 20 years ago. The most recent computer cheating scandal was last year. Chess players have been facing a brute force program whenever a computer is on the other side of the board. Go players will be facing an 2016.03.03_apples-orangesartificial intelligence. Chess players can give their judges tools to show the best move for a certain rating. Go players will not be able to distinguish human moves versus artificial intelligence moves. Judges will have no such tools. Go players online may soon be faced with a situation that any game slower than blitz will not be accepted. Go players who want a slow, deep game won’t bother with humans once they can gain access to the likes of AlphaGo. Human to human, real-life games will be either very casual, teaching or tournament. Go will become a more philosophical and sublime endeavor. Not necessarily a bad thing. There are too many players using their rank as a measure of mental prowess. People either do not know or do not care about the ancient greats like Shusaku or the not so ancient Go Seigen. Those are just ghosts if they are known at all. AlphaGo would be a welcome symbol of the summit for the game of Go. If you’re not AlphaGo, and you’re not, get back to studying life-and-death. Bottom line: I look forward to playing, losing and learning in the new artificial intelligence era.”
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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Lee Sedol confident about upcoming match with AlphaGO

Sunday March 6, 2016

Can machines overtake human intelligence? A breakthrough moment for that answer may come this week when the world champion of the2016.03.06_Korean grandmaster confident ancient board game go takes on an AI program developed by Google. Korean Lee Sedol and AlphaGO will go toe-to-toe in the ultimate man versus machine battle. In this Arirang News video, Kim Ji-yeon reports on how the human champion thinks the match will play out.

The go world was shocked and intrigued in January, when news broke of DeepMind AlphaGo’s victory over top European pro Fan Hui 2p. Since the publication of DeepMind’s paper in Nature, and the release of the game records, professionals around the globe have had time to analyse AlphaGo’s play in more detail, and a consensus has emerged that although AlphaGo’s victory over top European pro Fan Hui 2p was a great advance in computer go ability, DeepMind would not be celebrating victory if it had been a top professional sitting across the go board back in October. This week we’ll find out.
- adapted from reports by the Arirang News and Go Game Guru.

The first game will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Where to find the AlphaGo-Lee match?

Wednesday March 2, 2016

“Hey folks, you’ve had three stories about watching the AlphaGo-Lee match recently, but in none of them did you bother to give instructions for2016.03.02_deepmind-screengrab how to stream it,” writes Howard A. Landman. “I’d like to host a viewing party, but at the moment I have no idea what URL to go to or what else I’d need to do. Could you possibly give some brief how-to instructions?”
The local US times for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match are 8p PST and 11p EST. The first match will be Tuesday, March 8. The tournament will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. It will also be broadcast on TV throughout Asia through Korea’s Baduk TV, as well as in China, Japan, and elsewhere. More details on the SmartGo website.

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Go Talk Interviews Kierulf & Hajin Lee on AlphaGo

Tuesday March 1, 2016

In his latest Go Talk video series, Kevin Hwang interviews SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf about AlphaGo, computer go, the origins of the SGF file, 2016.02.29_Go Talk with Kevin Hwangand more. His February 21 interview with Hajin Lee has interesting background information on organizing the Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo match.  Click here to check out the entire Go Talk series.

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Do Computers Dream of Pizza?

Tuesday March 1, 2016

Inspired by the Seattle Go Club’s plans to host watching parties for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, the AGA and its chapter rewards 2016.03.01_Hot_pizzaprogram are offering to cover up to $100 of “reasonable expenses” of AGA chapters’ AlphaGo-Lee Sedol challenge match viewing parties.

“This is a historic moment for the go community,” AGA President Andy Okun said.  “Whether you’re rooting for the human to prevail or cheering AlphaGo in joyful acceptance of the advent of our new rulers, this is an event to see with fellow go players.”

Lee Sedol 9P has accepted the million-dollar challenge to play five games against the deep convolutional neural network system developed by Alphabet’s UK-based DeepMind AI lab.  After the announcement last month that AlphaGo had swept European Champion Fan Hui 2p 5-0, there was an unprecedented level of news coverage.  “We expect a similar level of coverage or even more when the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match starts,” said Okun, “so your viewing party could also be a chance to get some additional coverage for the game and your chapter.”

A chapter must be current on dues and the food, non-alcoholic beverage or other expenses must be reasonable for the expected turnout (no single person viewing parties at steakhouses please) and you must send a picture or two and a few sentences about the party to the EJ at journal@usgo.org. The last requirement is that, before the party, you reach out to a local news outlet or two to mention the party and encourage them to come and report on this “local angle” on a historic event in the development of artificial intelligence.  To receive reimbursement send smart phone photos of your receipts to rewards@usgo.org.  This offer is separate from your chapter’s rewards balance and will not count against it.

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Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go

Monday February 29, 2016

by Special Correspondent Andy Okun, with reporting by Natalya Kovaleva

In the run-up to AlphaGo’s challenge match with Lee Sedol 9p in Seoul in a little over a week, go players have been worrying about the new age whose beginning might be marked by an AlphaGo victory.  What will the go world be like when computers are so good?  Will people still want to play go?  What will change?  Taking advantage of the collegiality of the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, we sought counsel from a community that has been through this before.  We asked chess players how the game was affected by Garry Kasparov’s historic loss to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the steady growth in strength of computer chess since, and how go players should greet the news.  The general view was that go players should not be afraid of the new age, but that things will be different.  There may even be some new and interesting problems to handle, as there have in chess.

“So many cheats!” said KwaiKeong Chan (right), a long time chess player, arbiter and organizer from Hong Kong. Chan is helping run the chess 2016.02.29_Kwai Keong Chansection of the IEMG as deputy chief arbiter.  The software is so strong that it has become very easy to find new ways to cheat, Chan said.  “Hiding in the toilet is primitive,” he said dismissively of a toilet-based chess scandal last year in Dubai, although he refused to detail some of the more subtle methods people use.  Strong computers also are how officials crack down on cheats, he said.  Chess software is so good that given a board position and an ELO rating, you can predict the exact set of moves a player of that strength will likely draw from.  If a player consistently picks better moves than are likely for his or her rating, officials know to pay close attention.  “You cannot play beyond yourself.   It’s not humanly possible,” said Chan, who himself had designed some very early chess-playing software.

Beyond that, chess players don’t really care about computers’ strength and said go players shouldn’t either, he said.  Rather, the advent of strong computer go will bring publicity to the game, as Deep Blue did for chess, Chan said.  “That is always a good thing, publicity, good or bad.  Publicity is what you need.”  Chess is being played more than ever before, and while Deep Blue is not the main reason for that – he cited years of community effort in presenting chess well – it did produce a second surge of new players after the Bobby Fischer surge of the 1970s.

2016.02.29_Alexandra KosteniukThe presence of such strong computers has had other effects on how chess is played and the nature of chess expertise, players suggested.  Since strong computers can provide weak and middling players with solid and accurate analysis, the role of the chess master is different than it was, said Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk (left), a grandmaster, former Women’s World Chess Champion and author of “Diary of a Chess Queen.”  The strength of players has gone up, but the best players don’t command the same respect they might have in years past because the best critique is available to everyone.  “Maybe in a few years, there will be no go masters,” she said.

Shahriyar Mamedyarov, a 31-year-old Azerbaijani grandmaster and former rapid chess World Champion, said it used to be that when he was in world championship tournaments, he might have seven or eight fellow players with him helping him prepare for the games.  He doesn’t need to do that now, since any questions he has or analysis he needs done can be done by computer. Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina, a three-time Russian women’s champion, said computers had raised the standard of training and that “we need to memorize much more than we did before.”

Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the controversial president of both the Federation Internationale des Echecs and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, as2016.02.29_ponomariov03 well as the head of IMSA and a long time sponsor of computer go competitions, said in the early days of the computer go project, human players and human programmers would work hard to develop the computer player and make it stronger.  “Now the computer develops and trains the human.”

Perhaps the bluntest argument against fear of computers learning to play our games well came from Ruslan Ponomariov (right), a Ukrainian grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004.

“What we can do?” he asked with a shrug.

photos credits: Kirill Merkurev (Chan); chessqueen.com (Kosteniuk); en.chessbase.com (Ponomariov)

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Evanston Go Club to host Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo Game 1 Watch Party

Saturday February 27, 2016

Following the Seattle Go Center’s lead (Seattle Plans AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Watch Parties 2/25 EJ), the Evanston Go Club will have a watch party 2016.02.27_evanston-go-clubfor the first game of the Lee Sedol/AlphaGo match. The party will be hosted by club President Mark Rubenstein at his home. The game will be shown on a 55” TV in Rubenstein’s rec room, which also has a pool table and a dartboard. “It should be a lot of fun!” says Rubenstein. “There will be plenty of go sets available for people to follow along with the game, play their own games, or both.” The party will start at 10 PM on Tuesday March 8 at 917 Maple Ave, Evanston Illinois. “This is an historic event for the go world. Come and be part of it! And please bring some liquid libations or munchies to share.” says Rubenstein. Please RSVP to mark@evanstongoclub.org.
photo: Evanston Go Club meeting; photo courtesy Mark Rubenstein

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Seattle Plans AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Watch Parties

Thursday February 25, 2016

The Seattle Go Center is planning to host watching parties for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol 9P 5-game match, March 7-15. “We did 2016.02.26_seattle-jubango-party-First Gamesomething similar for the Jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li in 2014, although those games were longer,” reports club manager Brian Allen. “It was great fun. You can also play casual games at the same time.”

The first game will happen in Korea on March 9, which will be Tuesday, March 8 Seattle time. “We plan to watch it at the Go Center with our video projector,” says Allen. “The game starts at 8 p.m., and is expected to run 4 or 5 hours. Dennis Wheeler will be the host. Lee Sedol 9P, winner of the Jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li, and representing the human race, is confident that he can beat the version of AlphaGo that beat the 2 dan pro Fan Hui in October of last year. The big question is: how much has AlphaGo improved since then?”

Allen sent along the Harry Belafonte version of “John Henry” the “steel-drivin’ man” who so famously took on the steam engine.

Check the Seattle Go Club’s calendar for the dates of the other games, which they’ll also be watching. If other clubs plan similar events, please let us know at journal@usgo.org

photo: Frank Lam and Andrew Jackson (r) following the first Jubango game at the Seattle Go Center; photo by Brian Allen

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