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Google AI to receive honorary 'dan' from national Go association

2016/03/15 10:16

SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- S. Korea's top Go association said Tuesday it will give Google's artificial intelligence (AI) program AlphaGo an honorary certificate recognizing its performance in the ancient board game.

The Korea Baduk Association, the national governing body of the territorial game Go, said that its chairman Hong Seok-hyun will give the honorary ninth-dan ranking to AlphaGo, the AI that has been playing against South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol. The certificate will be given after the two sides play their final match later in the day.

In Go, "dan" refers to a player's class or ranking. In order to become a professional, a Go player needs to pass through dan promotion, but AlphaGo has already proven its prowess by beating top-class ninth-dan player Lee.

This is the first time that the KBA is rewarding a player with an honorary professional dan.

"AlphaGo has the skill to beat one of the world's top Go players and it contributed to the promotion of Go all over the world," the KBA said.

AlphaGo, designed by Google's London-based firm DeepMind, is leading Lee 3-1 at the five-round Go tournament named the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. The final match starts at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul.

The Korea Baduk Association, awards an honorary ninth-dan certificate to Google's AI AlphaGo on March 15, 2016. (Yonhap) The Korea Baduk Association, awards an honorary ninth-dan certificate to Google's AI AlphaGo on March 15, 2016. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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