Machine trumps man in strategy game Go | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.

Science Ticker

A roundup of research
and breaking news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Machine trumps man in strategy game Go

a Go board

A computer program called AlphaGo has bested a pro human player at Go, an ancient strategy game more complex than chess. 

Sponsor Message

In a victory that rivals the computer Deep Blue’s win over champion chess player Garry Kasparov, a computer has now bested a professional human player in the classic strategy game Go.

The computer program, called AlphaGo, trounced Fan Hui, the reigning European Go champion, 5 games to 0 in a formal match played in October 2015, researchers report January 27 in Nature.

Go, a game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, is much more complicated than chess, with an order of magnitude more possible opening moves, study coauthor Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind  said at a news conference on January 26 in London. Many researchers thought a computer wouldn't be able to beat a top human player for another five or 10 years, he said.

AlphaGo learned to play Go in a humanlike manner: from experience. But the program needed much more practice than humans do to become an expert, Hassabis said: millions of games, rather than thousands.

In March, the program will put its skills to the ultimate test in a match against Lee Sedol, currently considered the best Go player in the world. 

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content