DeepMind's AlphaGo AI is going to China to play top Go players in the game's birthplace

Demis and David DeepMindGoogleDeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and AlphaGo programmer David Silver.

DeepMind’s AlphaGo algorithm — arguably one of the most famous software algorithms in the world — is set to play a series of matches against some of China’s best Go players this week.

Go is an ancient two-player board game that was invented in China some 3,000 years ago.

It’s relatively simple: each player takes it in turns to lay a stone, with the objective being to surround the other player’s pieces. However, it has been incredibly difficult for computers to master due to the sheer number of potential moves.

That was until last March, when AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol (one of the world’s top Go players) in a five-game tournament.

The AlphaGo agent, which mastered Go by playing thousands of games against itself, has helped professional Go players like Sedol to identify new moves and strategies that human’s hadn’t previously thought of.

Between May 23 and May 27, AlphaGo will take on some of the best Go players in the country at the “Future of Go Summit” — a five-day festival of Go and artificial intelligence.

DeepMind writes on its website that it hopes to uncover more secrets of the ancient game in China this week, where it will also be playing different versions of Go.

“For the first time ever, AlphaGo will also be playing other game formats, such as Pair Go and Team Go,” said DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis in a YouTube video. “We’re hoping that after these matches, AlphaGo will have discovered some beautiful new moves and beautiful new ideas that can then take Go to another level.”

The matches will be streamed live on YouTube and live updates will be tweeted through the DeepMind Twitter account.

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