​Google's AlphaGo to take on world Go champion

DeepMind's Go-playing AI will take on the world's top-ranked player Ke Jie in Wuzhen, China, after defeating former Korean champion Lee Se-dol last year.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

DeepMind's AI software AlphaGo will take on the world's number one Go player Ke Jie in Wuzhen, China, Google has announced.

The Go-playing AI will take on the 19-year-old in a five-day AI symposium dubbed the Future of Go Summit starting on May 12 and jointly held by Alphabet, China Go Association, and the local government.

During the summit, AlphaGo will be involved in a variety of game formats: Chinese players will team up with their own AlphaGo teammates to battle each other; the AI will play against a team of five Chinese players; and lastly, AlphaGo will play three one-on-one matches with Ke.

The summit, which will be attended by AI experts from Google and China, will "explore how the technologies behind AlphaGo, machine learning and artificial intelligence, are bringing solutions to some of the world's greatest challenges" such as energy and medical usage, Demis Hassabis, CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, said in a blog post.

AlphaGo has already defeated Ke once -- in January, it was revealed that while playing under the user name "Master", the AI had played online matches against several Go champions through online gaming platforms Tygem and FoxGo and clinched 60 straight wins.

Hassabis said the online games were played to test the new prototype version of AlphaGo.

"Now that our unofficial testing is complete, we're looking forward to playing some official, full-length games there this year," Hassabis said at the start of the year.

AlphaGo played its online "test" matches between December 29 and January 4, defeating Ke during that time, along with world number two Park Jung-hwan from South Korea, Japanese champion Iyama Yuta, and a litany of other world-renowned champions.

Ke at the time said human players need to learn computer patterns to improve, while world number 35 Gu Li offered 100,000 yuan to whoever can beat AlphaGo to protect the "cultural treasure" invented by their ancestors.

AlphaGo last year also defeated previous Korean Go champion Lee Se-dol by four games to one in Seoul, South Korea, after beating the European Go champion by five games to nil last January.

Go, an ancient board game originating from China, has 10^761 possible games in comparison to the 10^120 possible games for chess.

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