“I said for decades that I did not think I would ever be beaten by a computer playing go,” writes Phil Straus 2D in response to Go Spotting: IEEE Spectrum 7/16 EJ. “I was wrong. I was first beaten by a computer program on KGS sometime in the last two years. Laurence Sigmond and I watched Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov at the Philadelphia Convention Center in 1997. To pass the time between moves we, of course, brought a go board. I showed the go board to Hans Berliner, one of the iconic chess programmers. He looked at it, and just shook his head. He said ‘maybe in 20 years.’ I was even more pessimistic. Go looked impossible in 1997. We were both wrong.”
Straus is a former president of the American Go Association. photo: Rémi Coulom and Crazy Stone. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED
With the American Go Association committed to establishing parallel AGA ratings for games played on-line, the AGA is seeking volunteers to implement the new system. “This is an exciting and historic development,” says Bob Gilman, AGA Director for the Central Region. AGA ratings now are limited to in-person games, and those ratings will not be affected. “This is a great project for an entry-level programmer looking for something to put on their resume,” says Andrew Jackson, AGA Operations Vice President, who estimates it will take “a few months of nights and/or weekends for an experienced python programmer.” Mentoring is available. Reply here if interested.
Human go players will undoubtedly find the graphic for “Go-bot, Go” annoying, but the article in the July issue of IEEE Spectrum is an excellent exploration of computer go-playing by Jonathan Schaeffer, Martin Müller and Akihiro Kishimoto, who developed Fuego, which in 2009 defeated a world-class human go player in a no-handicap game for the first time in history. In the online version, AIs Have Mastered Chess. Will Go Be Next?, the Schaffer, Muller and Kishimoto explain how “a know-nothing machine that based its decisions on random choices and statistics” triumphed.
IEEE photo: Dan Saelinger; Prop Stylist: Dominique Baynes
“I am tentatively planning to attend the 16th Ibero-American Go Tournament in Quito, Ecuador this October and wonder whether there may be other AGA members who might also be interested in making the trip,” Bob Gilman writes. “There is information about the tournament here and a form to indicate interest and get additional information here. If your Spanish is as bad as mine, Google translate can help you understand these pages.” Email Gilman at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
In a related note for our Spanish-language readers (or those interested in reaching them), our July 13 Prisoners in Cuba Learning Go post has been picked up by El Latino Digital – Reclusos en Cuba aprenden GO – thanks to Chris Uzal.
Nearly 30 professional go players are expected to attend this year’s US Go Congress, August 9-17 in New York City. Ranging in strength from 9-dan to 1-dan, the professionals come from Japan, Korea and China, as well as the United States; click here for the list, which does not yet include the Kansai Ki-in pros, Maeda Ryo 6P, Mariko Deguchi 1P, and newly-minted pro Francis Meyer 1P (right). A major attraction at the annual Congress, the professionals will give lectures and play simuls; the tentative Congress schedule has been posted here. Reminder that late fees for Congress registration will go up after July 15.