Chesss New Best Player Is A Fearless Swashbuckling Algorithm

Chess is an antique, about 1,500 years old, according to most historians. As a result, its evolution seems essentially complete, a hoary game now largely trudging along. That’s not to say that there haven’t been milestones. In medieval Europe, for example, they made the squares on the board alternate black and white. In the 15th century, the queen got her modern powers.1Long ago, the queen could move only one square diagonally at a time.And in the 20th century came the computer. Chess was simple enough (not many rules, smallish board) and complicated enough (many possible games) to make a fruitful test bed for artificial intelligence programs. This attracted engineering brains and corporate money. In 1997, they broke through: IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeated the world champion, Garry Kasparov. Humans don’t hold a candle to supercomputers, or even smartphones, in competition anymore. Top human players do, however, lean on computers in training, relying on them for guidance, analysis and insight. Computer engines now mold the way the game is played at its highest human levels: calculating, stodgy, defensive, careful. Or at least that’s how it has been. But if you read headlines from the chess world last month, you’d think the game was jolted forward again by an unexpected quantum leap. But to where?The revolutionary is known as AlphaZero. It’s a new neural network, reinforcement learning algorithm developed by DeepMind, Google’s secretive artificial intelligence subsidiary. Unlike other top programs, which receive extensive input and fine-tuning from programmers and chess masters, drawing on the wealth of accumulated human chess knowledge, AlphaZero is exclusively self-taught. It learned to play solely by playing against itself, over and over and over — 44 million games. It kept track of what strategies led to a win, favoring those, and which didn’t, casting those aside. After just four hours of this tabula rasa training, it clobbered the top chess program, an engine called Stockfish, winning 28 games, drawing 72 and losing zero. These results were described last month in a paper posted on arXiv, a repository of scientific research.Within hours, the chess world descended, like the faithful to freshly chiseled tablets of stone, on the sample of 10 computer-versus-computer games published in the paper’s appendix. Two broad themes emerged: First, AlphaZero adopted an all-out attacking style, making many bold material sacrifices to set up positional advantages. Second, elite chess may therefore not be as prone to dull draws as we thought. It will still be calculating, yes, but not stodgy, defensive and careful. Chess may yet have some evolution to go. For a taste of AlphaZero’s prowess, consider the following play from one of the published games. It’s worth emphasizing here just how good Stockfish, which is open source and was developed by a small team of programmers, is. It won the 2016 Top Chess Engine Championship, the premier computer tournament, and no human player who has ever lived would stand a chance against it in a match.It was AlphaZero’s turn to move, armed with the white pieces, against Stockfish with the black, in the position below: In the middle of the AlphaZero paper is a diagram called Table 2. It shows the 12 most popular chess openings played by humans, along with how frequently AlphaZero “discovered” and played those openings during its intense tabula rasa training. These openings are the result of extensive human study and trial — blood, sweat and tears — spread across the centuries and around the globe. AlphaZero taught itself them one by one: the English opening, the French, the Sicilian, the Queen’s gambit, the Caro-Kann.The diagram is a haunting image, as if a superfast algorithm had taught itself English in an afternoon and then re-created, almost by accident, full stanzas of Keats. But it’s also reassuring. That we even have a theory of the opening moves in chess is an artifact of our status as imperfect beings. There is a single right and best way to begin a chess game. Mathematical theory tells us so. We just don’t know what it is. Neither does AlphaZero.Yet.DeepMind was also responsible for the program AlphaGo, which has bested the top humans in Go, that other, much more complex ancient board game, to much anguish and consternation. An early version of AlphaGo was trained, in part, by human experts’ games — tabula inscripta. Later versions, including AlphaZero, stripped out all traces of our history.“For a while, for like two months, we could say to ourselves, ‘Well, the Go AI contains thousands of years of accumulated human thinking, all the rolled up knowledge of heuristics and proverbs and famous games,’” Frank Lantz, the director of NYU’s Game Center, told me. “We can’t tell that story anymore. If you don’t find this terrifying, at least a little, you are made of stronger stuff than me. I find it terrifying, but I also find it beautiful. Everything surprising is beautiful in a way.” AlphaZero is already behind by two pawns, and its bishop is, in theory, less powerful than one of Stockfish’s rooks. It’s losing badly on paper. AlphaZero moved its pawn up a square, to g4 — innocuous enough. But now consider Stockfish’s black position. Any move it makes leaves it worse off than if it hadn’t moved at all! It can’t move its king, or its queen, without disaster. It can’t move its rooks because its f7 pawn would die and its king would be in mortal danger. It can’t move any of its other pawns without them being captured. It can’t do anything. But that’s the thing about chess: You have to move. This situation is known as zugzwang, German for “forced move.” AlphaZero watches while Stockfish walks off its own plank. Stockfish chose to move its pawn forward to d5; it was immediately captured by the white bishop as the attack closed further in.You could make an argument that that game, and the other games between the two computers, were some of the strongest contests of chess, over hundreds of years and billions of games, ever played.But were they fair? After the AlphaZero research paper was published, some wondered if the scales were tipped in AlphaZero’s favor. Chess.com received a lengthy comment from Tord Romstad, one of Stockfish’s creators. “The match results by themselves are not particularly meaningful,” Romstad said. He cited the fact that the games were played giving each program one minute per move — a rather odd decision, given that games get much more complicated as they go on and that Stockfish was programmed to be able to allocate its time wisely. Players are typically allowed to distribute their allotted time across their moves as they see fit, rather than being hemmed in to a specific amount of time per turn. Romstad also noted that an old version of Stockfish was used, with settings that hadn’t been properly tested and data structures insufficient for those settings.Romstad called the comparison of Stockfish to AlphaZero “apples to orangutans.” A computer analysis of the zugzwang game, for example, reveals that Stockfish, according to Stockfish, made four inaccuracies, four mistakes and three blunders. Not all iterations of Stockfishes are created equal.DeepMind declined to comment for this article, citing the fact that its AlphaZero research is under peer review.Strong human players want to see more, ideally with the playing field more level. “I saw some amazing chess, but I also know we did not get the best possible,” Robert Hess, an American grandmaster, told me. “This holds true for human competition as well: If you gave Magnus [Carlsen] and Fabiano [Caruana] 24 hours per move, would there be any wins? How few mistakes? In being practical, we sacrifice perfection for efficiency.”Chess.com surveyed a number of top grandmasters, who were assembled this month for a tournament in London (the home of DeepMind), about what AlphaZero means for their profession. Sergey Karjakin, the Russian world championship runner-up, said he’d pay “maybe $100,000” for access to the program. One chess commentator joked that Russian president Vladimir Putin might help Karjakin access the program to prepare for next year’s Candidates Tournament. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the top French player, said it was “worth easily seven figures.” Wesley So, the U.S. national champion, joked that he’d call Rex Sinquefield, the wealthy financier and chess philanthropist, to see how much he’d pony up.“I don’t think this changes the landscape of human chess much at all for the time being,” the grandmaster Hess told me. “We don’t have the ability to memorize everything, and the games themselves were more or less perfect models of mostly known concepts.”In some aesthetic ways, though, AlphaZero represents a computer shift toward the human approach to chess. Stockfish evaluated 70 million positions per second, a brute-force number suitable to hardware, while AlphaZero evaluated only 80,000, relying on its “intuition,” like a human grandmaster would. Moreover, AlphaZero’s style of play — relentless aggression — was thought to be “refuted” by stodgy engines like Stockfish, leading to the careful and draw-prone style that currently dominates the top ranks of competitive chess.But maybe it’s more illustrative to say that AlphaZero played like neither a human nor a computer, but like an alien — some sort of chess intelligence which we can barely fathom. “I find it very positive!” David Chalmers, a philosopher at NYU who studies AI and the singularity, told me. “Just because it’s alien to us now doesn’t mean it’s something that humans could never have gotten to.” read more


After loss to No 1 Virginia silver lining apparent for Ohio State

The No. 4 Ohio State men’s tennis team is looking to keep its undefeated record at home this season in tact when it hosts Notre Dame and LSU this weekend. The Buckeyes (10-2) head into the matchups coming off a trip to the semifinals in the International Tennis Association (ITA) Team Indoor Championship in Seattle, Wash. OSU secured shutout victories against two ranked opponents during the tournament run, beating both then-No. 13 California and then-No. 5 Pepperdine, 4-0, before falling to No. 1 Virginia, 4-3, in semifinal play. In the semifinal loss to the Cavaliers, OSU doubles tandems continued their 2013 win streak when the teams of junior Blaz Rola and redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka and redshirt senior Devin McCarthy and junior Ille Van Engelen won their matches, 8-4 and 8-6, respectively. In singles, after a 6-4, 6-2 victory from Rola, OSU forfeited its 2-0 lead as redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan, redshirt freshman Chris Diaz and McCarthy all lost their individual matches. A win by senior Connor Smith tied the match 3-3 before the Cavaliers captured the winning point in a showdown featuring the top two players in the nation, Virginia’s Alex Domijan (No. 1) and OSU’s redshirt junior Peter Kobelt (No. 2). The scoreboard favored Domijan, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. “We got the doubles point, and seemed to be off on the right foot,” said coach Ty Tucker. “Overall, the guys fought hard and played hard.” The close loss against the nation’s top team in Virginia gave the Buckeyes optimism for how the team will fare down the stretch. “We noticed that we have a pretty good team,” McCarthy said. “We have some guys who are stepping up. We obviously lost to the No. 1 team in the country, so just trying to build upon that and realizing that at the end of the year we could win a national title.” Van Engelen said the team knew they had the potential to knock off Virginia but fell short. “(The loss) is also perspective for the future, because they are the No. 1 team in the country and have amazing players, so if we can compete with them so closely now, that’s perfect,” Van Engelen said. Since both losses for the Buckeyes this season have taken place on the road, facing off against No. 25 Notre Dame and No. 24 LSU in Columbus should serve as an advantage for OSU, which has not lost at home in more than 150 matches. “The guys are comfortable here. We have two very good teams coming in, and we need to play good tennis,” said assistant coach Justin Kronauge. “After a tough loss, I think they are ready to get out there and put on a good show this weekend.” With only several matches before conference play kicks off, OSU players plan on keeping a high level of intensity on the court. “Especially since we are traveling to North Carolina right after (this weekend), it’s important to get back into the rhythm, win our matches and get back in the flow,” Van Engelen said. McCarthy credited Tucker for always telling the team to focus on “getting 10 percent better” and then seeing where the team is by the end of the season. “I think it’s kind of to this point where it’s ‘push through,’” McCarthy said. “You never know at the end of the season – we might win (a national title).” The matches against Notre Dame and LSU are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Both matches are set to begin at noon at the Varsity Tennis Center. read more


Football 3 Ohio State defensive players to watch in the Spring Game

Ohio State then-freshman linebacker Baron Browning (5) attempts to stop a Scarlet Knight in the fourth quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State entered last spring with many starters on its veteran-laden defense set. Not to mention, multiple players, including defensive ends Tyquan Lewis, Nick Bosa and Sam Hubbard and linebacker Jerome Baker, had already established themselves as playmakers.But this season, beyond defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, not many potential game-changers are known. A lot of talent exists on the defense, but most remain unproven.A number of highly regarded freshmen — including four five-star prospects — were added to Ohio State’s defense last season, but the vast majority either played in reserve roles or did not play at all. The Spring Game will offer the first chance to watch many of them play extended minutes. Here are some players on the Buckeyes’ defense to watch in Saturday’s Spring Game.Chase YoungThe moment former five-star prospect and sophomore defensive end Chase Young stepped on campus, his chiseled 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame stuck out. The enormous 18-year-old almost became a punch line with many people comparing him physically to an NFL player, despite having recently graduated from high school.Ohio State then-freshman defensive end Chase Young (2) waits in between plays in the fourth quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sept. 23, 2017. Ohio State won 54- 21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNow, with a year of experience, Young’s time has arrived.With Hubbard, Lewis and Jalyn Holmes off to the NFL, defensive end went from a position of enormous depth to a top-heavy unit manned by one stud, a duo of highly regarded, yet inexperienced players and a former defensive tackle. Therefore, it is pertinent for Young to make the leap from five-star prospect to impact player.Having spent a season backing up that trio and Bosa, the sophomore defensive end should now be ready to slide into a starting role opposite Bosa. Young picked up 3.5 sacks last season and should be in line to more than double that tally in 2018.Though quarterbacks sometimes wear a different color of jersey in the Spring Game that dictates they aren’t allowed to be hit, that likely will not be the case Saturday with no guaranteed starter. With signal-callers able to be hit, the Spring Game referees should be ready to blow their whistles quickly because Young is coming for the quarterback trio.Baron BrowningAnother former five-star prospect, sophomore linebacker Baron Browning earned special teams reps and mop-up duty on defense early in the season, but gained more playing time toward the end of the year. With Baker and Chris Worley gone and redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland sidelined with an Achilles injury, Browning has a chance to earn a starting position in his second collegiate season. However, he has to beat out a number of worthy, experienced linebackers in Malik Harrison, Keandre Jones, Dante Booker, Pete Werner and Justin Hilliard to make an impact.Browning stands out when he walks onto the field due to his uncommon combination of size and speed. His physical gifts have even impressed head coach Urban Meyer, who called him “as talented a linebacker as has ever walked through these doors.”“He’s got it all now. He’s got A to Z,” Meyer said. “An intelligent guy, a good person, and God has blessed him with an incredible skillset.”That skillset allows him to play all three linebacker positions. Though with Borland likely set as the starting middle linebacker, he will likely have his best shot at playing time on the outside.Every opportunity counts when a large group of players is interlocked in a position battle. And everyone will have their final shot to make an impression during spring practice on Saturday. The most physically gifted player at his position, Browning should stand out.Shaun WadeOne of Ohio State’s two five-star cornerbacks in the 2018 recruiting class, Shaun Wade did not get nearly the opportunity offered to fellow five-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. Wade’s body would not allow it. He underwent abdominal surgery during the season and never saw the field.Ohio State then-freshman cornerback Shaun Wade warms up prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorNow a redshirt freshman, Wade has the opportunity to make the impact many thought he would last season. Redshirt junior cornerbacks Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette, along with Okudah, stand in the way of Wade earning starter-level snaps to start the year. But considering his rank as the second-best cornerback in the 2017 class, the now-healthy Wade should push for snaps. And with Okudah sitting out spring practice and the Spring Game due to having surgery on a torn labrum that has bothered him since high school, Wade has a chance to shine.In the past, the Buckeyes relied on a three-cornerback rotation. With Kerry Coombs gone, new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said he intends to maintain the rotation, provided he has three starter-quality cornerbacks. With Okudah out for the spring, Wade has a chance to prove he can break into the trio of rotating starters.And with all eyes on the quarterback battle during the Spring Game, the opportunity exists for Wade to make a statement in front of a crowd. read more


Usmanov rules out Charlton takeover

first_imgArsenal’s second majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov will not be launching a bid to buy Sky Bet League One side Charlton Athletic, despite reports in the British press he was mulling over a takeover bid for the club, according to Football. London.Following the news back in August that the Russian businessman would be selling his shares in Arsenal to the club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke for £600million, many assumed that he would be investing his money in Everton.One of his companies currently sponsors the club’s training ground, while Farhad Moshiri, Usmanov’s business partner, is already in charge at Goodison Park.Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.After being tipped to invest money into the Toffees, it came as a shock to Charlton fans on Friday morning with reports suggesting that the 64-year-old is considering a move for the club.The Addicks have struggled since suffering relegation from the Premier League in 2007 and now find themselves in the meddling with obscurity in League One and are currently owned by Belgian millionaire Roland Duchatelet, although the unpopular owner is said to want around £20million for the club.Usmanov is keen to remain in English football but it won’t be Charlton that he invests in despite the reports.last_img read more


Hugo Lloris handed £50k fine and a driving ban

first_imgTottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been banned from driving for 20 months and fined £50,000 after entering a guilty plea for drink-drivingThe 31-year-old attended a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court early today after being detained by police on August 24.The court was how Lloris provided a sample containing 80 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, which is two times over the legal limit in the United Kingdom.Lloris was spotted by an unmarked police car while driving his Porsche Panamera in the early hours.Prosecutor Henry Fitch claimed that the Frenchman went past a red light before being stopped.Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Manchester UnitedVidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.But Lloris’ lawyer, David Sonn, said that his client had been dining in a restaurant where he received drinks from fellow diners.“On July 15 he was arguably the proudest man on the planet [after France’s World Cup triumph],” Mr Sonn said on BBC.“Just 40 days later, he was arrested. He experienced the indignity of being handcuffed and put in a police station overnight.“The spectacular fall from grace is not lost on Mr Lloris,” he said.last_img read more



April 23 2012Welcome to the April 17 2012 worksh

first_imgApril 23, 2012Welcome to the April 17. 2012 workshop participants:[back row]: Rinaldo Vargas from Italy, Nicholas Berezovsky [seminar week], and Spartaco Peviani from Italy.[front row]:Rawaf Rawaf [scholarship], Valerie Osborn [seminar week], Jane Tellini [scholarship], Jonas Fister from Germany [construction internship], Taz Maddox Collins, and Charlie Gould [construction internship]. [photo: Chihiro Saito]last_img


The HomeGrid Forum and the HomePNA Alliance have m

first_imgThe HomeGrid Forum and the HomePNA Alliance have merged under the HomeGrid Forum name to create a larger, stronger organisation that is better positioned to promote the evolution of home wireline networks to the ITU-T G.hn standard.The G.hn specification defines networking over power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables with data rates up to 1 Gbps.The HomeGrid Forum said that G.hn products are now beginning to ship and that the merged body would guide those planning new networks based on the standard.It said that it would continue to support the installed base of over 40 million certified HomePNA devices.The new HomeGrid Forum will have over 70 members, including 28 service providers.“HomePNA is a mature, field proven technology, and continues to be selected by large service providers worldwide for IPTV deployments,” said HomePNA president Eran Gureshnik. “Service providers over four continents have achieved great results with HomePNA-based products and we have gained considerable experience in deploying home networks. However, the obvious future direction for all wireline home networking is to migrate to G.hn. Therefore, it made sense for us to merge the HomePNA Alliance with the HomeGrid Forum at this time, providing a clear, strong vision to existing and new customers.”last_img read more


The global broadband consumer premises market was

first_imgThe global broadband consumer premises market was worth US$10.5 billion (€9.9 billion) last year, up 9% on the 2013 figure, according to Infonetics Research.According to IHS-owned Infonetics Research’s PON, FTTH, Cable, DSL and Wireless Broadband CPE report, the figures were boosted by growth in the FTTH segment, up 18%, with DOCSIS 3.0 equipment sales growing by 3%. The group said that growth had been seen from GPON and DOCSIS 3.0 sales in North America, GPON sales in China, Europe and Latin America, and VDSL sales in Europe.There was some sign of growth tailing off towards the end of the year, with fourth-quarter revenue from broadband CPE coming in at US$2.7 billion, flat quarter-on-quarter.Infonetics Research predicts that DSL will take a smaller share of sales as telcos migrate to FTTH or, in some cases, forego fixed infrastructure altogether in favour of LTE.Top broadband CPE vendors in terms of market share were Huawei with 17%, ZTE and Arris with 11% each, Alcatel-Lucent with 7% and Technicolor with 7%.last_img read more