AI Program Beats Top Human Player at the Game Go

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Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, announced a software program Wednesday called AlphaGo that successfully beat European Go champion Fan Hui on a full-sized board five times in a row. Developed by researchers at Alphabet's DeepMind company, AlphaGo is considered a major landmark in the development of artificial intelligence. The game of Go, played on a 19 by 19 grid, has long thwarted computer scientists due to the vast number of available moves. "The game of Go has long been viewed as the most challenging of classic games for artificial intelligence owing to its enormous search space and the difficulty of evaluating board positions and moves," says the abstract to a paper about AlphaGo published in Nature. "This is the first time that a computer program has defeated a human professional player in the full-sized game of Go, a feat previously thought to be at least a decade away."