Previous News 2008 - 2017
Dec 15: "Move Prediction using Deep Convolutional Neural
Networks in Hex" accepted to IEEE Transactions on Games.
Congratulations Chao and Ryan!
"Preliminary Results on Exploration-Driven Satisfiability Solving"
was accepted for the
AAAI-18 Student Abstract and Poster Program, and
selected as a finalis to participate in the 3 minute contest
within the student track.
Nov 8: "Memory-Augmented Monte Carlo Tree Search"
accepted for AAAI-18. Congratulations Chenjun and Jincheng!
- Sep 17+18: visiting GIX in Seattle.
- Sep - Dec: revising Cmput 496 before teaching it the second time in Winter 2018.
- Sep - Oct: working on AAAI papers.
- Aug: Former summer student Yunpeng Tang re-joins our group as a MSc student,
starting in the fall. Welcome back Yunpeng!
- Jul 24: Our paper on Structured Best Arm Identification with Fixed Confidence was accepted for ALT 2017. Congratulations Ruitong and Mohammad!
- Jun 30: Finished my three year term as Associate Chair (Research) 2014-17.
Ioanis Nikolaidis is the new ACR.
- Jun: Gaojian's talk at ICAPS.
- Jun 6: back from my amazing trip to China!
Commented on the AlphaGo matches for Synced (jiqizhixin),
visited AI startup companies in games and medicine,
presented at GMIS in front of 2000 attendees,
visited Tencent AI lab, NUDT, Tsinghua and Baidu Research.
See some of my talks there.
- May 21: on my way to Beijing for the
Synced Global Machine Intelligence Summit,
and some research lab visits!
- May: looking forward to the upcoming
Future of Go Summit,
including the match AlphaGo against Ke Jie.
- Apr 24: Congratulations Chao and Gaojian on your IJCAI papers!!!
Chao's paper, with Ryan Hayward, is titled
"Focused Depth-first Proof Number Search using Convolutional Neural Networks
for the Game of Hex".
Gaojian's paper, with Rob Holte, is
"Additive Merge-and-Shrink Heuristics for Diverse Action Costs".
- Apr: the very busy term is finally over!
- Mar/Apr: Reviewing for ICAPS and IJCAI.
- Feb: Busy teaching 496 and 655.
- Feb: Working on some IJCAI submissions.
- Jan: Busy teaching 496 and 655.
- Jan 26: Gaojian's ICAPS paper accepted! Congratulations!
Jan 2017: AlphaGo, playing under the handles magist and master,
beats all human opponents in fast games on two internet Go servers.
- November/December: Still working on Cmput 496 development. Over 90 students registered! Twice as large as any existing 4th year course.
- November/December: Guest teaching in 204, 366, and 609.
- October: NSERC DG and RTI crunch time. Lots of files to review.
- October: We're hiring in
(1) Natural Language Processing, (2) Systems Security, (3) Green and Sustainable Computing, (4) Robotics.
"Excellent candidates in other areas of Computing Science may also be considered."
- September: Welcome Md Solimul Chowdhury! Solimul comes back from industry as a PhD student.
I co-supervise him together with
Jia You, who was Solimul's MSc supervisor.
- September: Working on Cmput 496 development.
- Aug 30: Chenjun passed his MSc exam today. Congratulations! He will stay here as a PhD student.
- June/July: visiting DeepMind and attending ICAPS in London, then visiting family in Austria.
- June 26, Edmonton:
Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) Summer meeting,
Special Session on Combinatorial Games to celebrate Richard K. Guy's 100th birthday. Sad to miss it because I will be in Austria,
visiting my dad who is "only" turning 90 this year.
- June 2: Abdallah gave his second talk, about the complexity of card games. Many of them are hard!
- May 23: Our paper "Integrating factorization ranked features into MCTS: an experimental study" was accepted
for Computer Games Workshop at IJCAI. Congratulations Chenjun!
- May 13: Abdallah gave a nice talk about connection games. See the
paper on arxiv.
- May 9:
Abdallah Saffidine is visiting us for a month. Welcome back Abdallah!
- May 2: Summer games research is starting. Welcome back Andrew and Yunpeng!
- April 8: last day of classes.
- March 25: Welcome new group member, MSc student Farhad Haqiqat!
- March 8 - 15: tons of activities around the Lee Sedol - AlphaGo match. 4-1 for AlphaGo!
See my talk at Faculty of Science
and our video.
Some day I will list the press articles, too.
- March 1:
Let's talk about IT - CS industry mixer event was a big success with over 200 attending.
- Jan 28: Fan Xie won the 2016
Faculty of Science Dissertation Award!!! Congratulations!!!
- Jan 27: Huge Computer Go news today. In a paper
published in Nature,
a group at Google Deepmind led by
our PhD graduate David Silver and our former Postdoc Aja Huang describe
AlphaGo, the first
Professional Level Go Program!!! Congratulations!!!
- Jan 4: Winter 2016 term starts. I am teaching Cmput 204 and 325.
Board Games Research, Summer 2015
High quality version of image (3.2 MB)
- Dec 18: Fan passed his PhD defense today. Congratulations!!
- Nov 23 - Dec 14: in Austria.
- Nov 20: Weifeng passed his MSc exam today. Congratulations!!
- Nov 12: Rick and Fan's paper
"On the Completeness of Best-First Search Variants that Use Random Exploration"
was accepted for AAAI-16. Congratulations!
- Nov 12: Our paper on "Factorization Ranking Model for Move Prediction in the Game of Go"
has been accepted for AAAI-16. Congratulations Chenjun!
- Nov 1+2: In Berkeley for a
combinatorial games workshop in honor of
Elwyn Berlekamp's 75th birthday.
- Sep 1: Welcome Chao Gao, new PhD student co-supervised by Ryan Hayward and myself.
- Aug 24 - Sep 5: In Taiwan, visiting
Prof. Wu and his group at NCTU,
my old friend
Prof. Kuo-yuan Kao
and the CIG conference in Tainan,
where I am giving a
about "Computer Go Research - The Challenges Ahead".
- Aug 11: Jacob and Andrew present their work at the poster sessions:
HIP Poster Session,
Thursday 3pm, 2nd floor CSC open area.
Undergraduate Summer Research Poster Session,
Friday, August 14th, 4:00 - 6:00 pm in CCIS PCL lounge.
- Jul 17: Summer research projects are in full swing.
- Jul 15: Associate Chair Research news: Preparations for NSERC discovery grants and RTI grants are starting.
- Jul 6: Jacob Ridgway is joining us as a
student for the next six weeks.
- Jul 5:
Our computer Hex research group's program
wins Gold in both 11x11 and 13x13 Hex at the Computer Olympiad. Congratulations Ryan!
- Jun 15: Yeqin's thesis
TDS+: Improving Temperature Discovery Search
is now online on the era archive.
- May 1: We have a great group of students doing board games research over the summer,
including undergrads Andrew Jacobsen and Yunpeng Tang.
- Apr 18: Fan Xie is starting an internship at Google Waterloo.
- Apr 2: Our paper
Continuous Arvand: Motion Planning with
Monte Carlo Random Walks
has been accepted as full paper for the
3rd ICAPS Workshop on Planning and Robotics (PlanRob 2015).
- Apr 1: My NSERC Discovery grant got renewed, with a nice increase. So happy!
- Feb and Mar: working on a first motion planning paper with Weifeng
- Feb 3: 50
- Jan 20: Our paper on "Understanding and Improving Local Exploration for GBFS"
has been accepted for ICAPS. Congratulations Fan and Rob!
- Jan: Yeqin is at AAAI presenting our TDS+ paper and
demo-ing Fuego at the
Artificial Intelligence Open House.
- Jan 5: teaching Cmput 204, Algorithms I, and Cmput 657,
Monte Carlo Methods in Games, Planning and Heuristic Search
Dec 30: A big heap of work for courses, reviews, papers, and admin.
Where is my holiday gone???
Strong new evaluation functions are appearing in computer Go.
I commented two games between Fuego 1.1 and a program
using a strong evaluation function and no search. The evaluation function
uses a convolutional neural network.
Dec 17: Yeqin Zhang passed his MSc exam today.
Dec: the revived University of Alberta Go club meets Sundays at 2pm in SUB.
Dec 5: Departmental award:
Hootan Nakhost received the 2013
PhD Outstanding Thesis Award in Computing Science.
Nov, Dec: working on my courses for next term: Cmput 204 - Algorithms 1 and
Cmput 657 - Monte Carlo Methods in Games, Planning and Heuristic Search
Nov 22: welcome back Fan Xie from a very productive internship
at IBM Research Ireland.
Nov 8: Our paper on TDS+: Improving Temperature Discovery Search
has been accepted for
- Oct: working on my
- Sep 18: released
version 0.2 of BobNoGo.
Updated to current version of Fuego (svn revision 1937)
and fixed a bug in the move generation for Monte Carlo simulations.
- Sep: working on a paper with Yeqin for AAAI.
- Sep 1: Chenjun Xiao joined our group as a new MSc student. Welcome Chenjun!
- Sep 1: back from sabbatical.
Starting as the Associate Chair Research for our department.
- Aug - Nov: Fan Xie is on an internship at IBM Research in Dublin.
Giving a full-day
tutorial on game tree search, together with
Kishi, at AAAI in Quebec City.
On my way to AAAI in Quebec City.
June 6, July 26:
publications. Added many pdf.
Working on my NSERC Discovery Grant renewal.
Our paper on Non-Linear Merging Strategies for Merge-and-Shrink
got accepted for SOCS. Congratulations Gaojian!
Here are the
from Hootan's CAIAC award presentation at the
Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence
a player and solver for the games Konane and Diskonnect, is now available.
It uses MCTS with pure random playouts and the Fuego framework.
May 13-15: Networking at the
2014 GRAND conference
May 9: Our recent PhD graduate Hootan Nakhost received the
Award for best PhD thesis
from the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association! Today he gave an
invited talk at the Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence
and was presented with his award.
working on my
Discovery Grant application,
and finalizing our GRAND Phase 2 proposal.
- May 6:
My abstract about Fuego
has been accepted for the
Replaying Japan 2014 conference.
- May 6-9:
TRUe Games Workshop
on combinatorial games at
Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
- May 4-23:
on his sabbatical from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
2 Dan on KGS!
Weifeng Chen joined our group as a new MSc student working on algorithms for
motion planning as part of a
project. Welcome Weifeng!
Mohammad Ajallooeian, PhD student, will work in our group on
parallel Monte Carlo search, and I am co-supervising him
as part of a
project. Welcome Mohammad!
- April 7:
Two papers accepted for AAAI-14! Congratulations Fan!
- March 29 - April 17:
in Ireland, visiting my first two PhD students
March 21: Two papers accepted for HSDIP, the
ICAPS-2014 Workshop on
Heuristics and Search for Domain-independent Planning.
March 15: at the
March: Westgrid has a
on MP-Fuego, our massively parallel Go program running on their Hungabee system.
Feb 25: A paper accepted for
the IEEE Transactions on
Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. The paper is
based on the results of Jiaxing Song's recent MSc thesis and is called
"An Enhanced Solver for The Game of Amazons". Congratulations Jiaxing!
February-March: Working hard on a new version of Fuego using learned "feature knowledge".
November: working on papers and experiments in planning and games
September: starting sabbatical
June: at ICAPS in Rome
Michael Buro takes over as the new coach of programming club.
Hootan Nakhost passed his PhD defense. Congratulations Hootan!
Our Amazons program Arrow2 is doing well in
the top division championship on LittleGolem. Seven wins and only one loss so far.
Fan Xie passed his candidacy exam. Congratulations Fan!
Three papers accepted for Computers and Games!
See the Publications.
Apr 29: recently updated:
Information on solving Amazons
on small boards.
Apr 15: recently updated:
Project Ideas for combinatorial games
Taught in Winter 2013:
Cmput 403 - Practical Algorithmics
and Cmput 496 - Individual Study.
Apr 10: working hard on papers for Computers and Games.
March 20: Crazy Stone beat Ishida Yoshio on 4 handicap in Densei sen.
Zen lost against Ishida.
March 19, 21: giving talks at UEC and Tokyo Tech.
March 17: UEC cup: MP-Fuego prototype finished in a strong 5th place,
playing on 1024 cores of Hungabee. In the knockout finals, MP-Fuego won
the first game, lost to Zen, then beat two strong opponents -
Many Faces and Nomitan. Crazy Stone won the tournament.
March 16-20: at the Sixth UEC Cup
and Densei sen
(computers vs professional Go players) in Chofu
near Tokyo, Japan. Fuego won the Fourth UEC Cup in 2010.
Fuego achieved a
1 Dan rank on KGS.
Yeqin Zhang has joined our group as a new MSc student. He will work on algorithms
in combinatorial games. Welcome Yeqin!
Feb 4 - 14:
Kazuki Yoshizoe is in town for a research visit. Working on parallel df-UCT for Fuego.
Our paper on "Better Quality Search via Randomization and Postprocessing under Time Constraint"
got accepted for ICAPS. See Publications.
2013 Compute Canada Resource Allocation Request: my application with Kazuki Yoshizoe
has been awarded 100 core years on
Jiaxing Song defended his Masters thesis on "An enhanced solver for the game of Amazons".
Graduate student Jiaxing Song has proven 5x6 Amazons to be a first player win.
Our Amazons program Arrow2 is playing in the top division on LittleGolem.
ACM Rocky Mountain Regional Programming Contest.
Calgary Phoenix won. Alberta Green in 6th, Gold in 8th place. See
ACPC programming competition: Alberta Green and Alberta Gold take Silver and Bronze.
Team Lethbridge 1 wins.
Cmput 325 room change. The course will be held in Dentistry/Pharmacy DP 2023, not in Tory.
Attending SOCS 2012 in Niagara Falls.
Gabe VanEyck passed his MSc defense! Congratulations Gabe!
Gabe VanEyck had his MSc Thesis Presentation
"Move Groups as a General Enhancement for Monte Carlo Tree Search".
Updated the local Fuego webpages
with information about the WCCI 2012 events in Brisbane
last week, as well as Barcelona 2010.
June 12: (updated June 22: corrected opponent for 9x9 game, more links)
Fuego won a 9x9 Go game today, taking Black against Shang-Rong Tsai, 6 Dan amateur.
Komi was 7 points. The game was very close and looked like it could be jigo (tie),
but move 32 was a mistake by the human.
Fuego also won a 19x19 game with only 2 stones handicap
against Sheng-Shu Chang 6 Dan amateur.
Fuego played Mr. Chou Chun-Hsun, 9 Dan professional on the 13x13 board (no handicap, no komi)
and 19x19 (6 handicap), but lost both of these games badly.
These games were held as part of the
Human vs Computer Go Competition @IEEE WCCI 2012.
Many other programs also played. Zen won a 4 handicap stone game
working on a Fuego 2.0 release. Still some bugs to iron out.
publications page with our recent papers at ICAPS, SOCS, ECAI.
Fuego played in the strong
83rd KGS Computer Go Tournament
June 1: Sumudu Fernando started work as a short-term programmer analyst
in my group, filling in for Saradha.
May 18 - 23: in Reykjavik, Iceland for
Hilmar Finnson's PhD defense.
ACM ICPC World finals were held in Warsaw, Poland.
112 teams of 3 students each competed in solving 12 tough programming problems.
Like last year, our team consisted of Saber Khakpash,
Amir Malekzadeh, and Navid Zolghadr, with Sumudu Fernando and myself as coaches.
Piotr Rudnicki also joined us for world finals in his home country.
The problem set was quite tough this year. Our team achieved
in 36th place (shared by all teams with 4 solved).
Summary of results,
ACM ICPC: Navid's program took 2nd place in the ICPC challenge.
May 2-4: In Montreal for GRAND conference.
May 1: Colin Hunt is starting as a NSERC USRA summer student.
Apr 29: Saradha's last day. She is moving to Europe
with her husband who has a position at CERN.
I was interviewed about Computer Go by David Ormerod for
Go Game Guru.
Upcoming: ACM ICPC: team Alberta Black will attend
The University of Chicago Invitational Programming Contest 2012
before going to
World Finals in Warsaw.
Visitor February 22 - March 19:
Assistant Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, a graduate from our dept.
and my first PhD student.
Jan 14: The shogi program Bonkras (which stands for Bonanza cluster)
beat the former top professional Yonenaga in an
official match. See the
Japan Times report, or
replay the game (Bonkras moves first and its pieces are at the lower side of the board).
Jan 13-18: John Tromp is playing computer Go program Zen in a
best of five match.
Visitor January 12 to February 24: Kunihito Hoki, Assistant Professor at the University of
Electro-Communications in Tokyo, author of the leading
and inventor of the "Bonanza method" for parameter tuning
which is used in all strong shogi programs now.
Dec 6: It's official: Our team Alberta Black is going to the ACM ICPC
World Finals in Warsaw, Poland!
Dec 6: teaching next term:
Cmput 403 - Practical Algorithmics.
Dec 6: Some pages on
Dec 6: The Go program Erica, written by our Postdoc Aja Huang,
made it to the final game of the 5th
Zen won the event. Things did not go well for Fuego this year, with one game lost by network
problems and another by an operator error.
- Nov 18-26:
Lots of medals for UofA programs at the Olympiad! Gold in
Silver in Hex and NoGo. Bronze in
Fuego also took 4th in
and 5th in
Getting ready for the
in Tilburg, Netherlands. UofA will have entries
for Hex, Go, Havannah, Amazons, and NoGo.
2011 TAAI computer Go competitions,
Fuego takes second place behind Zen in
all three events: 9x9, 13x13 and 19x19. See blog entries for the
first day and
Team Alberta Black with
Saber Khakpash, Amir Malekzadeh and Navid Zolghadr
the Rocky Mountain regonals in Edmonton, with 9 out of 10 problems solved!
Team Alberta Black with
Saber Khakpash, Amir Malekzadeh and Navid Zolghadr
the 2011 ACPC, with 8 out of 9 problems solved!
Two of our papers, one on move groups and one on blunder cost, got accepted for Advances in Computer Games 13.
Abdallah Saffidine, PhD student from Université Paris Dauphine,
has joined us for one year as a visiting student.
Hilmar Finnsson, PhD student from University of Reykjavik,
is visiting our group for three months.
article about computer Go
in the Communications of the ACM,
with interviews of
Olivier Teytaud of the MoGo team and myself.
- Teaching in Fall 2011: Cmput 201 (Intro to C, Linux) and Cmput 655 (Grad course on game tree search)
Kazuki Yoshizoe, Assistant Professor from University of Tokyo,
is visiting our group again from August 19 to October 21.
Assistant Professor from University of Tokyo,
author of the top shogi program
is visiting our group for two months.
Aug 1: Aja Huang, author of the top Go program
started his work as a postdoc in our group, co-supervised by Ryan Hayward and myself.
July 11: Results of the
IPC planning competition.
Arvand did well in sequential satisficing planning, and ArvandHerd won the multicore competition!
July 10: Some of my recent talks on planning and on Monte Carlo tree search in games.
- June 2011: I spent a month visiting
Tristan Cazenave's group at Paris Dauphine.
- Attending ICAPS 2011 in Freiburg.
Our weekly Monte Carlo and game tree search
meetings: Friday 1-2pm, now in CSC 3-33. Everybody is welcome!
March 14: The 9x9 match of
Ohashi 5 Dan professional
against the four Go programs Aya, Erica, MyGoFriend and Fuego
was postponed because of
the catastrophe in Japan.
Feb 28: Kazuki Yoshizoe, Assistant Professor from University of Tokyo,
is visiting our group from February 28th to May 2nd.
Saradha Sankaran started her work as a programmer/analyst in our group.
Because of the unstable situation in Egypt,
ACM ICPC World Finals were postponed and moved to Florida.
MSc student Fan Xie won the human NoGo competition at BIRS.
The two Fuego-based NoGo programs by Bob Hearn and Fan Xie took first and second place in the
computer competition, ahead of several other programs by well-known researchers.
Jan 9 - 14: Attending the
BIRS Combinatorial Game Theory workshop
Teaching Winter 2011: Cmput 201 and Cmput 605
- Fuego won the 4th UEC cup, this year's largest computer Go competition.
- My blog,
Martin's Computer Go Adventures
- Teaching Fall 2010: Cmput 201
Our programming team Alberta 1 with
Saber Khakpash, Amir Malekzadeh and Navid Zolghadr
won the 2010 RMRC
and qualified for the ACM ICPC world finals!
Also see the
October 16, 2010: Our programming team Alberta 1 with
Saber Khakpash, Amir Malekzadeh and Navid Zolghadr
won the 2010 ACPC.
Also see the
Feb 12 - 25: research visit by Akihiro Kishimoto, "Kishi".
Our paper on plan improvement was accepted for ICAPS 2010!
ACM-ICPC World finals in Harbin, China. Shanghai Jiaotong won.
Unfortunately our team only got honorable mention.
January 2010 KGS Computer Go Tournament
with 16 wins out of 18, ahead of Zen (!) and pachi.
Jan 6: restarted group meetings: each Friday, 1-2pm, CSC 349.
Everybody welcome! Send me email to get on the announcement list.
Jan 5, 2010: teaching this term:
- Practical Programming Methodology
- Practical Algorithmics
- Traditional and Recent Techniques for Two-Player Games.
Fifty-third KGS Computer Go Tournament
with 9 wins out of 10, ahead of Mogo and Many Faces.
You can read Nick Wedd's
Oct 31: Our two Alberta teams came 1st and 5th in the
ACM Rocky Mountain regional contest in Saskatoon.
Oct 17: Our team Alberta 1 won the 7th ACPC Alberta Collegiate
Programming Contest by
over Calgary 1!
Stanford 1 won the guest event with 9 out of 10 problems solved, ahead of
UBC and Waterloo.
Aug 22: At the Human vs. Computer Program Competition (FUZZ-IEEE 2009) Event
held August 21-22 on Jeju Island, Korea,
Fuego won a game of 9x9 Go against the top-rank (9 Dan)
professional player Zhou Junxun (his name is also transliterated as Chou Chun-Hsun).
It is the first time that a computer program has won a 9x9 game
on even against a top-ranked player,
so this represents a milestone for Computer Go.
- May 2009: Our Go program
won Gold and Silver at the Computer Olympiad 2009 in Pamplona, Spain!
and the report in the
- Teaching in Winter 2009: CMPUT 201 and 655
- Oct 2008: Our programming team won the Rocky Mountain regionals, and went
to the world finals in Stockholm!
See the UofA
Created: Mar 30, 2011 Last modified: Jan 17, 2018