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Science
29 May 2017

Google's AlphaGo, the AI which beat humans at Go, retires

After decimating the top players in the world's most complicated and demanding strategy game, Go, Google's AlphaGo, the AI designed to compete in Go, is retiring from competitive matches.

The research team which created AlphaGo will now focus its energies on developing advanced general algorithms aimed at solving complex real life problems like finding cures to diseases, reducing energy consumption etc.

In context

Man vs Machine: A look at AlphaGo's career

The world's most complex board game

Go is an ancient Chinese abstract strategy board game for two players, where, the aim is surround maximum territory using stones. Go is far more complex than Chess, and has more possibilities than the total number of atoms in the visible universe.

AlphaGo

A brief history of AlphaGo and AI Go softwares

AlphaGo was designed by London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind, which Google acquired for $500 million in 2014.

The research project was aimed at finding out how well a neural network using deep learning could compete at Go.

Till AlphaGo's advent, other AI softwares playing Go could either reach an amateur level, or compete against professionals using heavy handicaps.

AlphaGo, however, changed everything.

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AlphaGo's first triumph

In October 2015, AlphaGo defeated European Go champion Fan Hui in a 5-0 series victory marking the first time a computer program beat a human at the game without a handicap.

Conquests

AlphaGo's conquests

AlphaGo made it into the headlines in 2016 after it beat former Go world champion Lee Sedol in a historic 4-1 series victory.

Since then, dozens of Go maestros have fallen in battle with the AI.

AlphaGo's latest conquests, in a series held in China, saw it beating a five-man team of leading Go players, as well as current top-ranked player, Ke Jie.

AlphaGo retiring at the peak of its career

"This week's series of thrilling games with the world's best players, in the country where Go originated, has been the highest possible pinnacle for AlphaGo as a competitive program," said DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, announcing the retirement of AlphaGo.

AlphaGo's future

AlphaGo's prowess will go into teaching Go

While AlphaGo is retiring from competitive matches, it hasn't hung up its boots altogether yet.

Researchers at DeepMind are planning to publish a review paper on AlphaGo's development since its victory against Lee Sedol in 2015.

Moreover, the team is also developing a teaching tool for Go to help experienced and inexperienced players alike to learn the game and the moves conceived by AlphaGo.

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