How do game-playing programs choose the best move?

Go is a game of ‘perfect information’ – ideal for game-playing programs to tackle. But with so many potential board configurations, a machine can’t churn through the lot, so it uses the Monte Carlo tree search.ED JONES / AFP / Getty Images AlphaGo – the game-playing program that beat 18-time world champion Lee Sedol at the ancient board game Go in March this year – can be harnessed to crunch problems outside the games room, according to engineers in China and the US and published in IEEE/CAA Journal Of Automatica Sinica. A major part of its power is what’s known as the Monte Carlo tree search. Although not artificial intelligence in the vein of science fiction, it is an effective form of narrow artificial intelligence, meaning it is able to…

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