Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CACM 51(10)

In the latest CACM, this article caught my eye, since I have in the past played Go competitively, and tried my hand at Go programming. The article reports that the Go-playing program Titan defeated a human expert, Titan having been given a 9-stone advantage. (An earlier press release is here. This report gives more details, and has a link to the game itself in SGF format. Mick's computer go page keeps track of events like this, and gave me the previous link.)

On the one hand, I like to hope that Go engages the human brain in mysterious ways, so that programs will never catch up with human experts. On the other hand, I suspect that Go will go the same way as chess, and computer programs will eventually win. It is reasonable to hope that will need more emphasis on smart algorithms than on raw computing power. But, regarding the prediction in the article, my guess is that programs won't beat human experts by 2020.

Elsewhere in this CACM, is an article my my former colleague at Warwick, Martin Campbell-Kelly, on the history and future of open source software.

Unrelated: this article in the latest Times Higher is about UK academic blogs, but this blog doesn't get a mention :-(

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