Among 36 million Go players across the whole world, there are around 5 million that reside in Japan. 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.
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 required 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 difficulties in 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 study that has continued to produce many advancements. After the peak of chess research in 1997, Go researchers,set out in areas of AI that were different from those being used in chess. Game programming research, which had up until then focused on chess, moved away from solely making gaming programmes and moved towards work on calculation techniques that in turn made a substantial contribution to the development of computer 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 fields incluing the development of a number of new technologies as well as new ways of handling patterns and data mining information. Awareness of the development of Go software is currently limited, however 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 suspended. 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.
By no means is it a simple task for an international championship to accelerate technology development, to lure the interest of people, or to hold an international championships that is perfect to cultivate a deeper understanding of meaningful problems. However Gifu Prefecture and the Softopia Japan Foundation are most grateful to have been able to receive the endorsement of notable people playing a leading role in IT to challenge these very issues. With Softopia Japan's basic policy of IT cultivation,our mission is to be something that of an axis for Go Software. Through this championship,there will be no greater job than if Gifu Prefecture furthermore Japan, can send to the world a message of enthusiastic interest concerning the development of Go software and advanced software technology.