Siliconware Precision Industries chairman Lin Bough (林文伯) on Wednesday donated NT$6.6 million (US$219,451) to National Chiao Tung University’s (NCTU) computer science research team to develop go-playing artificial intelligence (AI) for Taiwan.
Lin and university president Frank Chang (張懋中) held a press event to announce the joint project.
The collaboration is to involve the university’s Computer Games and Intelligence (CGI) Go Lab, the Pei-sheng Cultural and Educational Foundation, Haifong Go Academy and the nation’s leading go players, they said.
The go-playing AI that the university has been developing since 2015 is capable of holding its own against professional players, Chang said, adding that the donation from Lin’s Pei-sheng foundation will promote AI research and the training of go players.
He has been an avid go player since childhood, Lin said, adding that prize money from a tournament he won would later become the seed money for his business, motivating him to promote the game.
The donation is to fund three years of research and to provide training opportunities at Haifong Go Academy, he said.
“Perhaps this project will help Taiwan’s AI research — benefitting go players, academia and AI industries all at the same time,” Lin said.
Taiwanese professionals often practice with players online, because Taiwan does not have enough top-tier players, said Chou Chun-hsun (周俊勳), a renowned Taiwanese go professional.
Competent go-playing AI would be a good way for professionals to hone their skills, he said.
“When go players are bested by AI programs, we are clueless about why we lost, but the CGI Go Lab gives players analytical data on their win probabilities that can be studied and used to adjust their play styles. This enables Taiwanese go players to improve faster. I hope it will give the nation’s players a chance to close the gap with China and South Korea,” he said.
Making a go-playing program requires AI and machine learning techniques, areas that have applications in industry, NCTU professor of computer science Wu I-chen (吳毅成) said.
“That the lab’s CGI work can help Taiwan’s top go players in a meaningful way makes all our efforts worthwhile,” he said.
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