December 13, 2017

DeepMind AI teaches itself chess from scratch in four hours, proceeds to beat previous champion

DeepMind, Google's artificial intelligence program taught itself chess from scratch in just a few hours and then went on to beat the world's previous best chess-playing computer program.

AlphaZero was given only the rules of the game and no further human input. It then used a technique called self-reinforced knowledge to actually learn the details of the game.

In this technique, the system plays itself over and over while learning along the way. They describe this as a "more human-like approach" to learning the game compared to traditional programs that run an algorithm.

After all of this learning, the system was put head to head with Stockfish 8, one of the previous world champion programs. AlphaZero either won or drew all 100 matches played. The system isn't just designed for chess though. The designers also repurposed it to play Go against the original AlphaGo program. AlphaZero won that 60 to 40, too.

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