For more than 50 years, the desire to make a strong computer program on Chess has stimulated the various research fields of artificial intelligence and information processing to make novel progresses in them. Now the strongest Chess program is stronger than any human player, which is the fruit of the research on computer Chess.
The game of "Go", born in Asia, is one of the most famous games in the world. The research to make a computer play Go started in the 1960's. However, in spite of more than 40 years' efforts, the strength of the current best computer Go program still remains only one-dan of amateur level.
One of the difficulties of developing computer Go program is the complexity due to the vast board of 19x19 and huge number of legal moves. The simple search approach which was adopted by computer Chess programs is impossible because of the combinatorial explosion. Moreover, evaluating a Go position is very delicate and vague. There is no clear purpose of the game such as capturing King in Chess.
To overcome these difficulties, we need the profound ideas and technologies from the cognitive science, search, pattern recognition, data mining, a high speed algorithms, etc.. In particular, we expect that the cognitive science approach which investigates thinking of human Go player, plays an important role in developing a strong computer Go program introducing new ideas for this field. In this sense, making strong Go programs is not only a research task of artificial intelligence, but also that of the wider class of the science.
We believe that from academic point of view, it is worthwhile to hold a world-wide computer Go competition to activate this field. Fortunately, we were able to hold this competition by the organizer of Entertainment and cognitive science research station of the University of Electro-Communications with cooperation of Computer Go forum in Japan. We hope that this competition will serve as a place of technical exchange of international computer Go research.
Organizing Chair: Takeshi Ito (The University of Electro-Communications, JAPAN)