Standing on the shoulders of giants

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When you think of AI or machine learning you may draw up images of AlphaZero or even some science fiction reference such as HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, the true forefather, who set the stage for all of this, was the great Arthur Samuel. Samuel was a computer scientist, visionary, and pioneer, who wrote the first checkers program for the IBM 701 in the early 1950s. His program, "Samuel's Checkers Program", was first shown to the general public on TV on February 24th, 1956, and the impact was so powerful that IBM stock went up 15 points overnight (a huge jump at that time). This program also helped set the stage for all the modern chess programs we have come to know so well, with features like look-ahead, an evaluation function, and a mini-max search that he would later develop into alpha-beta pruning.


Towards Understanding Chinese Checkers with Heuristics, Monte Carlo Tree Search, and Deep Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The game of Chinese Checkers is a challenging traditional board game of perfect information that differs from other traditional games in two main aspects: first, unlike Chess, all checkers remain indefinitely in the game and hence the branching factor of the search tree does not decrease as the game progresses; second, unlike Go, there are also no upper bounds on the depth of the search tree since repetitions and backward movements are allowed. Therefore, even in a restricted game instance, the state-space of the game can still be unbounded, making it challenging for a computer program to excel. In this work, we present an approach that effectively combines the use of heuristics, Monte Carlo tree search, and deep reinforcement learning for building a Chinese Checkers agent without the use of any human game-play data. Experiment results show that our agent is competent under different scenarios and reaches the level of experienced human players.


In the Age of Google DeepMind, Do the Young Go Prodigies of Asia Have a Future? - The New Yorker

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Choong-am Dojang is far from a typical Korean school. Its best pupils will never study history or math, nor will they receive traditional high-school diplomas. The academy, which operates above a bowling alley on a narrow street in northwestern Seoul, teaches only one subject: the game of Go, known in Korean as baduk and in Chinese as wei qi. Each day, Choong-am's students arrive at nine in the morning, find places at desks in a fluorescent-lit room, and play, study, memorize, and review games--with breaks for cafeteria meals or an occasional soccer match--until nine at night. Choong-am, which is the product of a merger between four top Go academies, is currently the biggest of a handful of dojangs in South Korea.


AI has beaten us at Go. So what next for humanity?

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In the next few days, humanity's ego is likely to take another hit when the world champion of the ancient Chinese game Go is beaten by a computer. Currently Lee Sedol – the Roger Federer of Go – has lost two matches to Google's AlphaGo program in their best-of-five series. If AlphaGo wins just one more of the remaining three matches, humanity will again be vanquished. Back in 1979, the newly crowned world champion of backgammon, Luigi Villa, lost to the BKG 9.8 program seven games to one in a challenge match in Monte Carlo. In 1994, the Chinook program was declared "Man-Machine World Champion" at checkers in a match against the legendary world champion Marion Tinsley after six drawn games.


Vegas Shooter Had Interest in Guns, Video Poker, Real Estate

U.S. News

His life is the subject of a sprawling investigation into what drove him to show up at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino with at least 10 suitcases filled with guns and open fire from his 32nd floor suite on a country music festival, killing 59 people and injuring nearly 530. Law enforcement and family members could not explain what would motivate a one-time accountant with no known criminal record to inflict so much carnage. Las Vegas police said he had 23 guns at the hotel, including semiautomatic rifles, and 19 at his home along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.