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    Miss Plum Blossom (on the left) and Miss Peach Blossom have been kneeling in this position for five hours without a bathroom break.

    Peach blossom started the game, and it has already been an hour since placing her black stone # 8 on the board.

    Plum Blossom, who happens to be the only idiot-savant Geisha in Yokohama, understands that, according to combinatorial game theory terms, GO is a "zero sum, perfect information, partisan, deterministic strategy game". She has spent the last hour studying the board, considering all possible outcomes of all possible moves --- extrapolated to the last stone --- and now, quietly puts her hand into the rosewood bowl to deftly pick up her eighth white piece.

    Peach Blossom, who knows she doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning this game against Plum Blossom, has fallen fallen fast asleep....zzzzzzzzzzzz......


    ".........The number of spaces on the board is large --- more than five times the spaces on a chess board. On most turns there are many more possible moves in Go than in chess. Throughout most of the game, the number of legal moves stays at around 150–250 per turn, and rarely goes below 50 (in chess, the average number of moves is 37).

    Because an exhaustive computer program for Go must calculate and compare every possible legal move in each "ply" (player turn), its ability to work out favorable lines of play is sharply reduced when there are a large number of possible moves. Most computer game algorithms, such as those for chess, compute several moves in advance.

    For the game of GO, with an average of 200 available moves through most of the game, for a computer to calculate its next move by exhaustively anticipating the next four moves of each possible play (two of its own and two of its opponent's), it would have to consider more than 320 billion (3.2*10^11) possible combinations. To exhaustively calculate the next eight moves, would require computing 512 quintillion (5.12*10^20) possible combinations.

    As of June 2008, the most powerful supercomputer in the world, IBM's "Roadrunner" distributed cluster, can sustain 1.02 petaflops. At this rate, even given an exceedingly low estimate of 10 flops required to assess the value of one play of a stone, IBM's Roadrunner Computer would require 138 hours --- more than five days --- to assess all possible combinations of the next eight moves in order to make a single play

    It only took Plum Blossom 58 minutes and 32 seconds.


    Ametxa, nisimo, timotheus.newberg, and 46 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 6 more comments

    1. Rea Family 88 months ago | reply

      Great information on the game... I never learned, but bought my sons a board, and printed a manual from online... it was about 200 pages...

    2. timotheus.newberg 88 months ago | reply

      I read a basic manual of my son's - about a 50 pages, not so bad at all...

    3. songbird516 88 months ago | reply

      I have played Go only once, but I found it much more fun than chess, probably because it's more abstract and harder to plan ahead. I love how casual and relaxed they look in this picture.

    4. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 88 months ago | reply

      Hi Singbird ! Yeah, so relaxed that Peach Blossom fell asleep ! ;-)

      Seriously though, whenever I see a GO board, I diss the game, and instead start making pictures and designs using the black and white stones.

      I did the same thing in basic training while in the Army at Fort Dix, NJ. While practicing on the firing range with the M-16 and Grenade Launchers, instead of aiming for the targets (Human shapes down range), I instead aimed for pine cones on the distant trees (a much more difficult target), and instead of launching Grenades into the down-range TANKS, I launched them into a distant pond to see how big a splash I could make.

      Although I was constantly being punished by the Drill Sergeant for my un-repentant ways, Army discipline never took effect, and I continue to approach all board games in the same way I approached the firing range at Fort Dix.

      If we played GO together, you would easily win, but not before I had come close to making a good approximation of the MONA LISA out of our stones.

    5. trinlayk 88 months ago | reply

      A few of the members of my anime club have been trying to learn.
      We're completely confused by how to do scoring... and the group includes programmers and engineers. (I think we just need a better description.)

      Though maybe we should give the scoring a chance WITHOUT the programmers and engineers in the room.

    6. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 88 months ago | reply

      Trilayk --- Please make up your own rules for GO, including how to score. It's that kind of attitude that saved the world from being overrun by classic violinists, and gave us Fiddler on the Roof, the Irish Jig, Blue Grass music, and Folk Festivals. Let me now how it goes ! ;-)

    7. I Am Luna [deleted] 88 months ago | reply

      lol I fried my mind one time watching this on TV. Wasted a few good hours one late night watching them play.
      PS: This shot has some nice DoF.

    8. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 88 months ago | reply

      Fybix -- I agree. It's a very narrow but pleasing DoF.

    9. Clever Poet 88 months ago | reply

      Impressive photo and tale. I've always wanted to learn to play this game. It requires masterful concentration and skill.

    10. PBY 88 months ago | reply

      Nice photo, the small DOF isolating the subject is great.

      Your caption make me remember that I worked on a such software at school, hopefully only on the more easy gomoku game.

    11. bulle (boitabulle) 88 months ago | reply

      Hi Okinawa !
      Very beautiful image. Thanks for the little story. But I'm a girl so I can not understand the game of go lol !

    12. mangosalata 88 months ago | reply

      Incredible collection of old photos!!! ^^ Adding to faves~~

    13. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 88 months ago | reply

      Boitabulle --- LOL. Here, let me explain it to you : You put down the little stones on the board, and make Smiley Face, Zig-Zag, and Hangman patterns. That's all there is to it ! Good Luck !

      Mangosalata --- Glad you like the pics !

    14. bulle (boitabulle) 88 months ago | reply

      thanks! I understood immediately with your latest explication. Go! I'll go pick up a few stones, lol !

    15. gwashley 87 months ago | reply

      these are fantastic, thanks for sharing

      are petaflops legal? :)

    16. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 87 months ago | reply

      Hi G -- You're welcome. Petatflops ? Sure. Anything goes in the game of GO !

    17. 85 months ago | reply

      Lovely colouring in the image, just looks at the flowers, as far as the game or grenade launching, both are like golf on TV. I enjoy watching it, but have no desire, to go do it.

    18. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 85 months ago | reply

      Hi Numinous. I agree with you on all counts !

    19. CyboRoZ 79 months ago | reply

      If you wanna play and learn go try the shareware version of "the many faces of go", or GNU GO if you just wanna play it, which is open source.

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