The Chess Engine that Died So AlphaGo Could Live

AlphaGo, a computer program designed by Google DeepMind, has just one more game to go against top-ranked Go player Lee Sedol in Seoul, South Korea, in a five-game match reminiscent of the 1997 showdown between Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov. AlphaGo’s success so far is unprecedented, no matter the outcome of the final match. The fact that we’ve moved from teaching computers chess to training them on how to play the more complex game of Go shows the advances computer scientists have made in programming intelligence. But what happens to the chess programs of yesteryear? The rise of AlphaGo contributed directly to the demise of at least one very interesting chess engine: Giraffe, which was developed by Matthew Lai as part of his advanced computing thesis at Imperial College London.…


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