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World No.1 Go player Ke Jie takes on upgraded AlphaGo in May

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

04-10-2017 16:44 BJT

BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Go player Ke Jie, arguably the current best in this sport, has set up a highly anticipated and ultimate showdown with the upgraded computer program AlphaGo in southern China's Wuzhen in May.

It will be the second meeting between top professional human player and the artificial intelligence program in this ancient board game. In March 2016, Google's AlphaGo scored a 4-1 victory over South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol in a historic five-round match, overturning the long existing fact that machine can't beat professional Go players due to the game's complex, intuitive and creative nature.

Ke, 19, who became the youngest champion in Go history to win three world titles within the space of one year between January 2015 and January 2016, will take on AlphaGo on May 23-27 in three rounds of regular games with each player having three hours in each game. The winner will be awarded 1.5 million U.S. dollars while the losing side takes 300,000 dollars.

In the May showdown in Zhejiang province, native Ke will face a stronger AlphaGo than a year ago as the program, developed by DeepMind, boasts of a deep learning capability to learn for itself and discover new strategies by playing games against itself and adjusting neural networks based on a trial-and-error process known as reinforcement learning.

As a matter of fact, the new version of AlphaGo already demonstrated its improved strength as it recorded a 60-0 result in blitz games against a number of top Go players on two online Go game sites under the ID names "Magister" and "Master" in early 2017.

Go, known as Weiqi in China and Baduk in South Korea, originated from China thousands of years ago. It involves two players who take turns putting white and black stones on a grid of 19 lines by 19 lines. One can win an opponent when gaining more territory on the grid. One can remove stones of the opponent by surrounding the pieces.

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