Google's DeepMind robot becomes world-beating chess grandmaster in four hours

GE's HA Turbine

Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence claimed the chess crown when it beat the title holding computer program after learning the game within hours, The Guardian reported. The next generation of Google's AI software, dubbed AlphaZero, may do just that. With these newly acquired skills, AlphaZero successfully beat Stockfish, the world's reigning champion for chess playing programs.

To be blunt, this AI managed to surpass the highest peaks of human achievement in chess in half your shift. It also rules the chess board-AlphaZero took down Stockfish, the sophisticated open-source chess engine that many players use to prepare for big matches.

What makes this astonishing is that there was no human input involved in the program's learning approach to the game. Each program was given one minute's worth of thinking time per move. AlphaZero won 25 playing as white (which has first-mover advantage) and three games playing as black. The two programs drew the remaining 72 games. In October, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said, "If [AlphaZero] can be applied to other structured problems, such as protein folding, reducing energy consumption, or searching for revolutionary new materials, the resulting breakthroughs have the potential to drive forward human understanding and positively impact all of our lives". "This algorithm could run cities, continents, universes".

After being programmed with the rules of the game (not the strategy) AlphaZero played 100 games against Stockfish, the world champion chess program. But this AI learned through watching humans play, which introduced biases and mistakes. This was believed to help the fledgling software improve its game.

Next came AlphaGo Zero - a fully autonomous AI that learns by teaching itself.

However, it is AlphaZero's machine learning ability that has gained the world's attention. Google's eventual goal is to create a sort of generic AI that can respond to and master a broader range of challenges.

For now, Google and DeepMind's computer scientists aren't commenting publicly on the new research, which hasn't as yet been peer-reviewed. But for now, one thing is certain: AlphaZero made a lot of waves in the chess community. Michael Wooldridge, a professor at the the University of Oxford, told the BBC.

The details about the Google's feat were published on the Arvix website of the Cornell University.

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