Facebook’s open-source Go bot can now beat professional players

Go is the go-to game for machine learning researchers. It’s what Google’s DeepMind team famously used to show off its algorithms, and Facebook, too, recently announced that it was building a Go bot of its own. As the team announced at the company’s F8 developer conference today, the ELF OpenGo bot has now achieved professional status after winning all 14 games it played against a group of top 30 human Go players recently.

“We salute our friends at DeepMind for doing awesome work,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said in today’s keynote. “But we wondered: Are there some unanswered questions? What else can you apply these tools to.” As Facebook notes in a blog post today, the DeepMind model itself also remains under wraps. In contrast, Facebook has open-sourced its bot.

“To make this work both reproducible and available to AI researchers around the world, we created an open source Go bot, called ELF OpenGo, that performs well enough to answer some of the key questions unanswered by AlphaGo,” the team writes today.

It’s not just Go that the team is interested in, though. Facebook’s AI Research group has also developed a StarCraft bot that can handle the often chaotic environment of that game. The company plans to open-source this bot, too. So while Facebook isn’t quite at the point where it can launch a bot that can learn any game (with the right amount of training), the team is clearly making quite a bit of progress here.

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