Tue, 3rd Jul '07, 11:30 pm::

On the way home from work today, I stopped by Michaels (arts & crafts store) and bought about $55 worth of small wooden boxes, black and white pebbles, wood finish spray paint, sandpaper, and some black and white markers. Took me a while to find it all but I think I'm now ready to build my own set of Go board game. Originally I had planned to create the set from scratch but I found just the right-sized wooden box for me to turn into the Go board with minimal effort.

While watching Falling Down starring Michael Douglas, I sanded down the rough edges of all the wooden boxes and have it primed for spray painting tomorrow. I highly recommend the movie and sanding things down before you apply varnish. A Go set similar to what I'm making costs over $200. With just a few lazy hours of work, I can soon start learning this ancient Asian game.

As faster computers repeatedly beat humans at Chess, two games where even novice level humans still win over the fastest computers are Bridge (card game) and Go (board game). The game play of Go is very deep and the number of possible moves far exceeds those of chess, Scrabble, and Othello. The same brute-force and systematic methods that work for computer chess, disastrously fail at Go. Go requires the player to look at patterns and understand what they mean and how they can relate to each other, as opposed to simply running through 4 billion possible moves within seconds. In Go, there are trillions of quadrillions of possible moves and we won't be getting computers that fast any time soon.

The study of Pattern recognition is of particular interest to me because I think that's pretty much what human intelligence is - the ability to recognize a pattern and make judgments based on them. The day computers can learn to recognize patterns on their own without being fed everything directly, is the day we'll have truly intelligent computers. If you're interested in what the game is about, you can learn it here just like me.

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