A system developed by Google has mastered the ancient Chinese game of Go, a progression being hailed as a significant development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Go is a game based around the placement of black or white stones on a board. Competitors try to capture their opponents stones or secure empty space.
While it may seem simple, the game is incredibly complex: there are said to be more possible positions than there are atoms in the universe, with Go seen as a more intuitive game than chess, and thus harder for computers to master.
A team from Google DeepMind developed a program called AlphaGo to try and "crack" the Game. Based in London, Google DeepMind was acquired by Google in 2014.
On Wednesday it was announced that AlphaGo had beaten Fan Hui – the best player in Europe – five nil in a closed doors match last October.
"It was the first time a computer program has ever beaten a professional Go player," Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, said in a blog post.
The findings are published in the journal Nature. In March AlphaGo will play the world's best Go player, Lee Sedol, in Seoul.