It’s official: The world champion of Go, Lee Sedol, will face off against Google Deepmind’s powerful artificial intelligence, called AlphaGo.

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A week ago, Google DeepMind’s team claimed to have built the best AI for the game in a scientific paper, and issued a public challenge to Sedol. DeepMind hopes it can prove that a powerful artificial intelligence is capable of beating the best human player in one of the most mathematically complicated board games ever created.

The match between Sedol and DeepMind will be broadcast live on YouTube beginning March 9. The prize for the event is $1 million. DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis announced the competition in a tweet.

The match between Sedol and AlphaGo will have many similarities to the famous 1996 chess match between chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue computer. In that match, IBM’s Deep Blue artificial intelligence was the first to defeat a professional chess grandmaster.

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In the upcoming match between Sedol and AlphaGo, DeepMind’s artificial intelligence will reason through many more combinations of moves than IBM’s computer ever did. There are roughly 10 to the power of 700 possible board variations for Go, which has made the game hard for computer programmers to crack. By comparison, chess only has 10 to the power of 60 possible scenarios.

AlphaGo already successfully defeated three-time European Go champion Fan Hui in a series of five matches, but Sedol is considered to be a different challenge entirely. Sedol has dominated the game of Go throughout his professional career, earning him recognition as one of the great players of the modern era. His match against AlphaGo will be one of the most difficult challenges of his life.

[VentureBeat]

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Top image via Flickr


Contact the author at michael.nunez@gizmodo.com.