World Computer Go Championship-Gifu Challenge 2004
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There are around 5 million Go players in Japan, with 40 million players across the whole world. Go's popularity has been boosted by the publication of a comic book called 'Hikaru no Go' which is a huge hit and led to children as young as elementary school age embracing the game of Go.

Computerised Go has been researched since the 60's but despite over 40 years of investigation there are still many things to be uncovered. With Go using a 19x19 board, computer programmes that are used to calculate equations for chess do not have the computing power to calculate at the level requiered for Go. On top of this, if the Go pieces become clogged up, the programme becomes unable to find a clear sense of purpose. Some of the other problems for Go software are difficulty with determining the seperate value of each piece and making more drastic moves as time passes.

In the field of AI research, computer vs human research has been an ongoing field of research that has continued to produce many advancements. After the peak of chess research in 1997, the Go world set out to research areas of AI that were different from those being used in the chess world. Game programming research, which had up until then focused on chess, ,oved away from solely making gaming programmes and moved towards work on calculation techniques that in turn made a substantial contribution to the development of calculation science.

This development led to technology being produced that promises to support and aid the future of the software industry. The AI research led to a number of other promising leads incluing the development of a number of new technologies as well as new ways of handling patterns and data mining information. Awareness of these technologies is currently limited to software that is currently in public use, however ther is a whole depth of valuable Go programmes working in the background.

Computer Go tournaments have been held for over 20 years in various shapes and forms. However due to financial restraints or the lack of technology advancements, many of these tournaments have been cancelled. When looking at the long term it is important to aid the advancement of regular technology as well as to teach people the many interesting aspects of Go.

IT Professional Asia