American Go E-Journal » World

AlphaGo, KataGo, and the future of AI

Saturday June 6, 2020

Visualization of ownership predictions by KataGo

“There’s something magical about the game of go,” writes Branton DeMoss in a recent blog post. “For thousands of years, it has captured the imagination of those who want to learn what it is to learn, to think about what thinking means. With the recent advent of strong, open source go AI that can beat top professionals, it’s worth tracing the history of the game, why it remained so difficult to beat humans for so long, and what the future of go may hold.”

DeMoss explores the evolution of computer go, and then discusses how AlphaGo differs from the open source Katago. “KataGo attempts to predict a greater number of game outcomes than just value,’ says DeMoss, “in particular, KataGo also predicts final territory control, final score difference, and from each board state the opponent’s next move. As a result of these improvements, KataGo massively outperforms Leela Zero and Facebook’s ELF bot in learning efficiency. KataGo achieves a factor of fifty improvement in training efficiency vs. ELF”.

The creator of KataGo, David J. Wu, answers some of DeMoss’s questions at the end of the article. “I think the AlphaZero-style training loop using MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) is not the last word on [things like] this,” says Wu. “Blind spots are just the most visible of the flaws, but there are some technical and theoretical details you can dig into that start to make it clear that there are some practical problems with how exploration and move discovery work in this loop, some basic theoretical flaws involving mismatches between the neural net’s training distribution and usage, and also some fundamental ‘missing’ capabilities in current bots in terms of using search effectively.” The full blog post can be read here. -Story by Paul Barchilon. image from Accelerating Self-Play Learning in Go, by David J. Wu.

Share

Redmond to review Ichiriki-Shibano game from Pandanet’s “Golden Panda Cup”

Saturday May 30, 2020

Ichiriki

For this Sunday’s live game commentary on Twitch (8p EDT; note new time!), Michael Redmond 9P – hosted by E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock — will review Pandanet’s “Golden Panda Cup” final-round game between Ichiriki Ryo — one of the top up-and-coming young players — and Shibano Toramaru, who won the prestigious Meijin tournament in 2019 at age 19, becoming the first teenager to achieve one of the seven major Japanese titles. Pandanet hosted the the “Golden Panda Cup”; Golden Panda is also what they called the player with the most wins, thus knocking out the most opponents.

Shibano
Share
Categories: Main Page,World
Share

KGS Adds Web Registration

Saturday May 23, 2020

The KGS Go Server just got easier to join and use. The Java client for KGS has been an ongoing problem for some computers and blocked by many schools. The KGS Home Page features a new link to sign up for a free account. Using ShinKGS, a web-based client developed by Justin Kramer, phones, tablets, or computers can now play on the server while avoiding Java completely. 

The American Go Foundation has been steadily working on improving KGS, but mostly behind the scenes until now. “This is the first of many upgrades to KGS that the AGF wants to see happen.” says AGF President Terry Benson. “To make KGS a better go community, we could use help on the open source ShinKGS code.  While so many people are stuck at their computers, go is a great way to stay busy and connected to other people.”  ShinKGS is still missing some features and has a few bugs, a list of areas that need work is here, access to the code is on Github here. GoUniverse, a plugin for the Chrome Web Browser developed by Ilya Kirillov, is  another way to access KGS without Java, and has almost all of the features in the full client. GoUniverse is also open source, and can be accessed on Github here.

KGS has seen a boom in users with everyone staying home due to Covid-19, and many clubs now meet virtually on the site. The AGF hopes to expand that user base by improving services and growing the community. “Many thanks to lead KGS developer Lee Schumacher for his tireless work on behalf of the server. Our thanks also to Oren Laskin, on the development team, and to all the admins who work daily to keep KGS a safe and friendly space for all,” adds Benson. – Paul Barchilon, AGF Vice-President

Share

BadukPop app adds AI opponent

Friday May 22, 2020

BadukPop has added several improvements in its latest update, including the ability to play against artificial intelligence. The popular go problem app, developed by Hajin Lee 4P and Dan Maas, works on both Android and iOS. The interface was designed to be fun for all ages, including kids, and now features 7 humorous AI characters you can play against. The weakest is Bobby – perfect for people who have just learned to play. Next up is Kevin whose “mind wanders off into deep space – and so do his go moves.” As players work their way up, the AI gets much stronger. “I love playing against Cora,” says Lee “she’s my new rival – I have about a 50/50 win rate against her, and it’s really fun to have a quick game with her now and then.” At the top is Max “a powerful AI that plays at human professional level.”

The app only supports games on 9×9 for now, but 13×13 and 19×19 are coming soon says Maas. A new section of lessons has been added as well. Designed as short sequences to teach new players, you can go from learning the rules to mastering basic corner and side positions. Like everything in BadukPop, the lessons are designed to be quick so one can learn something in just a few minutes, but build deep knowledge over time. Lee goes over the new features on her Youtube channel here. The app is free, but has in app purchases for extra features. Download from the Apple or Android stores, or from BadukPop’s website here. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

Share

Go video feast on AGA YouTube

Tuesday April 28, 2020

If you’re hankering for some more online go content, here’s our latest release schedule on the AGA’s YouTube channel:

April 28: Southeast Asia (SEA) Go Congress: Masters Round 6 (Yang Shuang 2p): US Masters runner-up Jian Zhongfan takes on top Korean amateur Kim Do Hyup in the top division of the Southeast Asia Go Congress.
May 5: Redmond’s Reviews, SEA Edition: Michael Redmond 9P reviews an assortment of Japanese professional games, as well as the third-place match of the Singaporean 7-dan title tournament.
May 12: SEA Congress, Singaporean 7-dan Title Match G2 (Yang Shuang 2p): Having won the first game in the best-of-3 final, can Lin Youzhi 6d go one step further to reach the summit of Singaporean Go?
May 19: China-US Internet Go Tournament, Day 1 (Kim Yoonyoung 8p): Six of the best players in the United States team up against a very strong line-up of Chinese top amateur players.
May 26: China-US Internet Go Tournament, Day 2 (Cho Hyeyeon 9p): The competition is really heating up on Day 2: will there be upsets, and who will survive the ultimate fights in byo-yomi?
Plus tune in on our Twitch channel Sunday nights at 7p EDT for more live broadcasts by Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock; details TBA soon!

Share
Categories: Main Page,World
Share

New York Go Honor Society takes New York Go League international

Wednesday April 15, 2020

After initially announcing a league in March of this year that would allow New York players to compete both in-person and online, the New York Go Honor Society has taken the New York Go League international in light of the recent pandemic and the inability of players to meet in person. “We are proud to announce that we will be opening the league to all players, not just those who reside in New York,” says NYGHS vice-president Patrick Zhao. Participants will play two games per week be allowed to schedule their games with their opponents on their own time. Entry and play in the league is completely free and open to any player with a stable rank with any association or credible Go server. All players interested in joining the league should fill out the Google registration form before the registration deadline of May 1, and take time to read the rules and regulations. Players should address any questions to co-president.nyghs@ny-go.org

Share

WAGC postponed until 2021

Saturday March 28, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Go Federation has postponed the 41st annual World Amateur Go Championship – originally scheduled to be held in June in Vladisvostok, Russia – until the summer of 2021. “We kindly ask you to understand this critical decision and hope to meet with players from all over the world in Vladivostok in 2021,” said Russian Go Federation Vice President Natalia Kovaleva in an announcement. The pandemic, still growing rapidly around the world with near 600,000 confirmed cases and 27,000 deaths, has brought a near complete halt to most face-to-face activity in the world of mind games. Tournaments scheduled for spring and early summer in Chess, Bridge, Draughts, and Go have been postponed or cancelled outright in many countries. The AGA has urged its chapters not to hold meetings or tournaments for the time being, and while the US Go Congress is still being prepared for August in Estes Park, CO, AGA and Congress staff are monitoring the situation and will issue an update in April. Organizers of the European Go Congress 2020, set for Kamyanets-Podilski, in the Ukraine, have put their preparations on hold. “A decision will be made by mid-May whether EGC will be postponed or held as planned,” according to the EGC website.

-report by AGA President Andrew Okun

Share

How we’re coping: WMGC & SiliValley

Monday March 23, 2020

“The WMGC (Western MA Go Club) held it’s usual Thursday night meeting via Zoom last week,” reports Trevor Morris. “Ten of us showed up on-line. At times, it was a bit chaotic, with three different conversations going on simultaneously! Several of us used OGS for the first time. I signed up as a supporter there; I really like the AI analysis.” The club is hoping for an even bigger turn-out this Thursday. “Perhaps some out-of-town friends would like to join us?” Trevor wonders. “I’m hoping that Zoom’s breakout rooms with cut down on the chaos.” Reach him at gotrevor@gmail.com

“The SiliValley Go Group is, of course not meeting,” says David Doshay. “I am playing correspondence go both via OGS and email, sending coordinates back and forth. I am trying to help some of our folks who are not computer savvy to get set up on OGS, and last night I was setting up Zoom sessions so that I can continue teaching the child of a friend how to play. We will try the first lesson tonight. I am not playing any games in real time via go servers. Other than that we are well stocked with food and are watching streaming content, avoiding zombie-pandemic movies.”

How are you coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? Playing more online go? Studying more? Producing online go content? We’d especially like to hear if you’re streaming on Twitch or posting videos to YouTube. Email us today at journal@usgo.org. We’ll share the best tips and ideas with your fellow go players!

Share
Categories: Main Page,World
Share

How’re you coping with the crisis?

Sunday March 22, 2020

Playing more online go? Studying more? Producing online go content? We’d like to hear about how go players around the world are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Email us today at journal@usgo.org. We’ll share the best tips and ideas with your fellow go players!

Share
Categories: Main Page,World
Share

Redmond and Garlock release “AlphaGo to Zero”

Sunday March 8, 2020

Four years ago today, the whole world watched as a computer program took on one of the top go players in the world. And won. From the historic AlphaGo-Lee Sedol showdown in Seoul in March 2016 to the release of AlphaGo Zero in November 2017, Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock have had a front-row seat, commenting, analyzing and reporting as the AlphaGo AI upended thousands of years of human history. Today, on the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, they’ve released Volume 1 of AlphaGo to Zero, the first of a 4-volume EPUB series that will thoroughly cover the AlphaGo phenomenon.

Redmond (right) and Garlock commenting AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol 9P Game 1, March 8, 2016

Redmond and Garlock will discuss the book and review games from the AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9P match on Twitch at 7p EDT on Thursday, March 12. They’ll also discuss their experience doing the commentary on the historic match and take viewer questions.

Since the 2016 AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, Redmond and Garlock have released a popular series of AlphaGo videos and game commentaries on the American Go Association’s YouTube channel. In AlphaGo to Zero, Redmond and Garlock use the power of the EPUB platform to take an in-depth look at the March 2016 showdown between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol 9P. The EPUB not only includes new insights into the match and each game, it enables readers to easily review video game summaries Redmond and Garlock recorded after each game, including some never before released to the general public. The game commentaries include clickable diagrams and Redmond’s original commentaries alongside brand-new comments. It’s also illustrated with color photos of all the action, including some never previously published.
In addition to EPUB, the book is also available in the Go Books app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

As the AlphaGo Team says in their introduction, “Chris and Michael experienced first-hand the anticipation and excitement felt by the entire AlphaGo team, and understand better than anyone the significance of these games in showcasing what can be achieved when human and machine come together to solve complex problems.”

“This book is our attempt to capture that story,” say Redmond and Garlock, “to tell you what we saw at the time, what we see now, and to try to place this moment in the history of the game, to get a sense of where we may be headed. When AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol, some said it was the end of go. As we have seen since then, it is rather more likely that in many ways the game has just begun.”

Share