Go, a board game born in Asia, is played around the world. Go can often be regarded as an international language; playing Go with just a board and stones enables us to communicate each other without any words.
Among various games that have been investigated by computer scientists, Go was known to be one of the most challenging one. The large board size with many possible moves together with complex positions has refused various approaches.
However, one major breakthrough emerged in 2006 - the Monte-Carlo approach. After this breakthrough, the computer Go programs has shown a rapid progress, even winning games against professional Go players if they were given some handicap - this was never imagined five years ago by any computer go program developer.
Looking back on the history of the research on games, many technology has been brewed in the research of chess: Artificial intelligence, cognitive science, search algorithms, pattern recognition, data-mining, optimization technology. Now, the research of Go is introducing the next breakthrough.
Contests for computer Go programs have two important meanings. First, they stimulate the development of programs, and second, they stand as a benchmark to record the development of new technology.
The Computer Go UEC Cup has been held since 2007, organized by the Cognitive Science and Entertainment (E&C) Research Station, The University of Electro-communications under the help of Computer Go Forum. As it is organized by a research station, the UEC Cup aims not only to compete the programs, but also to encourage academic and technological communication of the participants. To achieve this goal, unlike other popular computer Go competitions which are held online, the UEC Cup is a off-line competition, working as a place where computer Go program developers can meet face-to-face.
Although the competition is on computers playing the game of Go, we should never forget about the "human being" using the programs to play the game. Computer Go program technology should never forget to be useful and friendly for human beings. In this tournament, it is not only a strength to compete, but we also hope that entrants will create programs that have highly aggressive entertainment such as the creation of new technologies and interfaces. "The Best Presentation Prize" until last year has been renamed "The Creative Award": this award is given to a person who would focus on a new thing besides a strength in a program.
We hope that the UEC cup will be a success and lead to further progress in the computer go technology.
October 26, 2011
Organizing Chair: Takeshi Ito (The University of Electro-Communications, JAPAN)