American Go E-Journal » Computer Go/AI

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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Man vs. Machine: Lee Sedol to Face AlphaGo March 9-15 in Seoul

Monday February 22, 2016

The legendary Lee Sedol, the top go player in the world over the past decade, will take on computer program AlphaGo in a landmark five-­match, million-dollar tournament March 9-15. AlphaGo’s 5-game sweep of professional Fan Hui 3P2016.02.22_Lee-Sedol-Myeongin-300x200 2016.02.22_alphago-546x480rocked the world in late January (Game Over? AlphaGo Beats Pro 5-0 in Major AI Advance  1/27/2016 EJ)

“Regardless of the result, it will be a meaningful event in baduk (Go) history,” said Lee Sedol (left). “I heard Google DeepMind’s AI is surprisingly strong and getting stronger, but I am confident that I can win, at least this time.” AlphaGo has been developed by Google DeepMind, whose CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis said “Go is the most profound game that mankind has ever devised. The elegantly simple rules lead to beautiful complexity. Go is a game primarily about intuition and feel rather than brute calculation which is what makes it so hard for computers to play well. We are honoured and excited to be playing this challenge match against Lee Sedol, a true legend of the game, and whether we win or lose, we hope that the match will inspire new interest in go from around the world.”

AlphaGo will play Lee Sedol in a five-­game challenge match to be held from Wednesday, March 9 to Tuesday, March 15 in Seoul, South Korea. The games will be even, with $1 million USD in prize money for the winner. If AlphaGo wins, the prize money will be donated to UNICEF, STEM and go charities.

“The whole world is interested in this event as this is the first stage where humans and computers are competing in intelligence,” said Park Chimoon, Vice Chairman of the Korean Baduk Association. “I am proud that this historical stage is baduk (Go). I hope Lee Sedol 9 dan will win this time in order to prove humans’ remarkable intelligence and preserve the mysteries of baduk.”

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AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match Set for March 9-15; More responses to AlphaGo win

Sunday February 7, 2016

As the go world — and indeed much mainstream media — has continued to buzz in the wake of the recent announcement of AlphaGo’s defeat2016.02.07_Fan-Hui-vs-AlphaGo of a professional go player, details of the matchup between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol have been released. The five-game match will take place in Seoul, March 9-15, with a $1 million prize — and the question of whether man or machine will prevail — at stake. We’ll keep you posted on broadcast coverage plans. Meanwhile, here’s a few of the reactions that have come in; we welcome your thoughts at our Facebook page, Twitter or at journal@usgo.org.

SmartGo’s Kierulf on AlphaGo: “Exciting times with the AlphaGo announcement!” writes SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf “If you’re in need of some more analysis and speculation on the Lee Sedol match, I’ve got you covered: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo.” Kierulf has also written a bit about how AlphaGo works, and encouraging people to learn go now. He also reports that SmartGo has “definitely seen a spike in sales last week, subsiding again now.”

Cobb: A Flawed Test: “These sorts of tests of computer programs against pros (chess or go) all have the same flaw,” writes Slate & Shell’s Bill Cobb. “While the computer of course plays at the speed it needs to in order to use all of its resources, the pro is forced to play much faster than he/she can make use of their resources to a similar degree. For a go pro, one hour basic time is ‘lightning’ go, not a true test of the player’s ability—especially when it is followed by 30 second instead of one minute byoyomi periods. I don’t understand why people are so impressed about the computer program winning under such unfair conditions. Many strong amateurs could beat many pros under a similarly unbalanced time arrangement.” Cobb is the author of “Reflections on the Game of Go” a collection of his E-Journal columns, many of which focus on ways in which go can be related to Buddhist views of the search for enlightenment.

“Alphaville” Warned Us: The night before the announcement that a computer had won a 5-game match with no handicap against a 2016.02.07_alphavilleprofessional, I watched ‘Alphaville,’ a 1965 French film,” writes David Doshay. “In it an evil computer saps vocabulary, emotion and eventually life from the people of Alphaville. That computer’s name is Alpha-60. This program is called AlphaGo. Coincidence or conspiracy? Go and 60 look a lot alike to me …Should we warn the world?”

Learning from Chess: “Regarding Google’s AlphaGo achievement, I’d be interested in reading an E-Journal article discussing how chess software has affected online chess tournaments,” writes Syracuse go organizer Richard Moseson. “There have already been a few scandals at top chess tournaments in which players were found to be using chess playing software. How long will it be before players can use iGlasses to receive recommendations for each move?”

Moving the Goalposts: “Perhaps it is time to consider moving to the next prime number with a go board that is 23 by 23,” suggests Ronald Davis.
Update (7:08p): The source of the “Moving the Goalposts” quote has been updated.

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Chinese Professionals React to the Historic AlphaGo Win

Friday January 29, 2016

 The following is translated by Jennie Shen 2P from a WeiqiTV video2016.01.29_Fan-Hui

Liuxing 7p: before the games, what were you expecting?
FanHui 2p: I was thinking about how to torture/destroy the program, and see how many handicap stones I could give to it.
Liuxing 2p: if you play AlphaGo again, do you have confidence?”
FanHui 2p: I can’t tell you this, it’s a secret. but I can tell you how I felt when I was beaten up by AlphaGo. The first game, I wanted to play a peaceful game, but AlphaGo played an endgame tesuji, I found out I didn’t have a chance. The second game, I was thinking, maybe AlphaGo is just good at endgame, so I should fight. I got a good result after the avalanche joseki, but screwed up at the lower right corner… So, later, I realized, well, humans have emotions, the emotions will effect the game a lot, but this guy (AlphaGo) doesn’t have emotions, nothing affects it, it won’t make mistakes. The 3rd and 4th game, I was already completely destroyed mentally, no confidence at all. Lots of people asked me these questions: were you in bad shape? is this your full strength? some people even asked if I was sandbagging? here’s what I want to say: for humans playing Go, lots of things matter, like emotions, mentality, we can’t play our full strength. I tried my best…but it’s really really painful every time when I lost to Alphago. I felt like the world was turned upside down, it’s ridiculous.”
Shiyue 9p: When I saw the news yesterday, I couldn’t believe it was true. But the 5 games impressed me a lot, I think AlphaGo has pro level, but still there’s a distance from top pros. I don’t know how does machine study by itself, but I know it studies and improves, I think it won’t be easy for Lee Sedol in March. To us pros, we can learn from the program. If the program gets to top level, I will try different moves to play it, programs are tools, depends on how we use these tools. Some people think Go is culture, it’s mysterious, they don’t want to see AI beats human, some people think we can see a bigger picture and the depth of Go with program’s help. It’s our choice.
If AI beats humans, what does this mean to us?
LiZhe 6p: if AI beats human, maybe in March, maybe within a year, it will change the human Go world. We need to face these big changes. For example, as the competition Go weakens, people might focus more on the culture of Go. In the future, AI will help us to learn Go skills, people will start to think about what Go brings to us? Go will become a way of communication.
Kejie 9p : The 5 games were not that impressive, but the scary part is, AI improves. I use to think AI can never beat human, at least it won’t happen within 10 years. but this is unbelievable. When I was looking at the games, I didn’t know which is human, which is machine, I can’t tell the difference, AlphaGo has very good sense of balance. I think Lee Sedol will win the match in March. I really want to play Alphago, not just me, all the active Chinese pros want to play it. I have confidence to win now, but it’s hard to say later. I will still play Go even if AI beats human in the future.
Check out Myungwan Kim 9Ps January 28 commentary on the AlphaGo-Fan Hui games on the AGA YouTube channel.

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Myungwan Kim 9P to Analyze Fan Hui-AlphaGo games this Friday

Thursday January 28, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the Fan Hui-AlphaGo games on the AGA YouTube and TwitchTV channels this Friday at 9p EST (6p PST). And for the first time, the broadcast will be simulcast on weiqitv.com in China. Yesterday’s news2016.01.28_nature-cover that Google’s go-playing AI, AlphaGo, had swept Fan Hui 2P 5-0 rocketed around the world, receiving international coverage including write-ups in the New York Times, Bloomberg News, the BBC, Wall 2016.01.28_myungwan-kimStreet Journal, MIT Technology Review, Wired, NPR and blowing up on the AGA’s  Facebook and Twitter feeds.

“I was shocked at how Alphago played,” Kim (left) told the E-Journal. “It played like a human professional. I am sad that this computer program might beat me, but I don’t think it can beat Lee Sedol. I will tell you why in my commentary.” Google DeepMind, the British artificial intelligence company which developed AlphaGo, has issued a challenge to Lee Sedol 9P from South Korea, the top player in the world for much of the last 10 years, to play a 5-game, million-dollar match in March. Andrew Jackson will host the livestream broadcast.

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Google and Facebook Race to Solve Go

Sunday December 13, 2015

“Inside companies like Google and Facebook, deep learning is proving remarkably adept at recognizing images and grasping spacial patterns—a skill well suited to Go,” reported Cade Metz in Wired last week . “As they explore so many other opportunities this technology presents, Google and Facebook are also racing to see whether it can finally crack the ancient game. As Facebook AI researcher Yuandong Tian explains, Go is a classic AI problem—a problem that’s immensely attractive because it’s immensely difficult. The company believes that solving Go will not only help refine the AI that drives its popular social network, but also prove the value of artificial intelligence. Rob Fergus, another Facebook researcher, agrees. “The goal is advancing AI,” he says. But he also acknowledges that the company is driven, at least in a small way, by a friendly rivalry with Google. There’s pride to be found in solving the game of Go.” For more on Facebook’s research, check out “How Facebook’s AI Researchers Built a Game-Changing Go Engine” in the MIT Technology Review last week.

Smart Go’s Anders Kierulf also recently published a blog post on “Go at Facebook”, saying that “As long as Facebook and Google stick with trying to find general solutions to general problems, I don’t think top Go programs like Zen and Crazy Stone have anything to worry about. But once these giants decide to beat the strongest human players and are willing to focus on Go-specific solutions, it will get interesting.” Check out also his explainer on Monte Carlo Tree Search and his post about the impact of the Swift programming language on his go programs.

 

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