Marvin Minsky Dies in Week Computer Beats Professional Go Player for First Time

What a week for Artificial Intelligence.

The death of Marvin Minsky and the announcement of a huge breakthrough in the field as the Google DeepMind team defeats professional Go player, Fan Hui five times in a row. The latter was expected to happen one day, but not for ten years.

Marvin Minsky, who died this week aged 88, was a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, and a giant in many other fields: Cognitive Psychology, Maths, Computational Linguistics, Robotics, and Optics and was one of the founders of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. He was still working on research last year.

I hope he heard about DeepMind’s breakthrough in mastering the game of Go. Long regarded as one of the big challenges in AI & computing now that humans have become resigned to losing to computers at chess. Both Google and Facebook have been working hard to crack a problem that is so hard too solve as the possible combination of moves in a game of Go is something like 10 to the power 700.

Nature’s video report on the challenge.

For an accessible write up of why this is big news, there is a Wired Article here and for the mathematically adventurous:

Google Deepmind Mastering Go Research Paper

Don’t go there if you are afraid of mathematics!

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