It should be pointed out that Alpha Zero had effectively built its own opening book, so a fairer run would be against a top engine using a good opening book." Whatever the merits of the match conditions, Nielsen is eager to see what other disciplines will be refined or mastered by this type of learning."[This is] actual artificial intelligence," he said. Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Computer Chess Championship, didn't stand a chance. A little more than a year after Alpha Go sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program Alpha Zero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.
Oh, and it took Alpha Zero only four hours to "learn" chess. That's right -- the programmers of Alpha Zero, housed within the Deep Mind division of Google, had it use a type of "machine learning," specifically reinforcement learning."It approaches the 'Type B,' human-like approach to machine chess dreamt of by Claude Shannon and Alan Turing instead of brute force." Indeed, much like humans, Alpha Zero searches fewer positions that its predecessors.The paper claims that it looks at "only" 80,000 positions per second, compared to Stockfish's 70 million per second.GM Larry Kaufman, lead chess consultant on the Komodo program, hopes to see the new program's performance on home machines without the benefits of Google's own computers.He also echoed Nakamura's objections to Stockfish's lack of its standard opening knowledge. "Although after I heard about the achievements of Alpha Go Zero in Go I was rather expecting something like this, especially since the team has a chess master, Demis Hassabis.I feel now I know." We also learned, unsurprisingly, that White is indeed the choice, even among the non-sentient.Of Alpha Zero's 28 wins, 25 came from the white side (although 3=47-0 as Black against the 3400 Stockfish isn't too bad either).Put more plainly, Alpha Zero was not "taught" the game in the traditional sense.That means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences between center pawns and side pawns.The French also tailed off in the program's enthusiasm over time, while the Queen's Gambit and especially the English Opening were well represented.What do you do if you are a thing that never tires and you just mastered a 1400-year-old game? After the Stockfish match, Alpha Zero then "trained" for only two hours and then beat the best Shogi-playing computer program "Elmo." The ramifications for such an inventive way of learning are of course not limited to games.