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March 30th, 2005

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Empty Board

Just found William Cobb’s Empty Board articles on Go and philosophy (mostly Buddhist).

Anyway, Cobb, in an article entitled Schrodinger’s Go Stone (published in American Go Journal XXXV, 2, Spring 2001), takes on quantum mechanics and go moves:

“Classical physics assumed that reality has a definite, determinate character, and all that was needed was a way to observe it accurately. Modern physics knows, or at least suspects, that that is not the way it is. This is no surprise to go players.

“Both the world and the game of go are open ended processes whose constituent parts cannot be precisely delineated so as to make possible precise predictions of outcomes. So when you make that shoulder hit, no one can say that it is definitely a good or a bad play. We can only talk about probabilities. Whether it is good or bad cannot be known until the game ends.”

Posted by tristen in Links

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 at 9:53 am and is filed under Links. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Empty Board”

  1. Flo says:

    Sorry to be a party-pooper, but this analogy between Go and quantum mechanics is cute, but flawed.

    The sole reason we don’t know if a given move is “good” or “bad”, is that we lack the resources to compute the full game tree of Go. This game tree exists, and is finite, it’s just way too big for us to handle. In other words, given any starting position on a Goban, there is a winning strategy for one of the players. It exists, we just don’t know what it is. Not because it is unknowable, but because we are not good enough.

    Quantum mechanics is different. Before Schroedinger’s box is opened, the cat is both dead and alive – not because our equipment is not good enough determine the cat’s state, but because a law of physics says so (as far we can tell). It’s really not the same thing at all. There is no law of physics preventing us from playing go perfectly.

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