Today was the off day. After three rounds of the US Open and three rounds of the US Open ahead of me, I thought it perhaps wise to have a rest day and skip the die hard tournament. I slept in and got off to a much needed late start. I met Ien and his friend Tony for lunch at a terrific Shanghainese restaurant close to MIT. Afterwards Ien and I went sighting seeing in and around the MIT campus. Our first stop off was the MIT Museum.
Origins of AI
I really wanted to visit the MIT Museum to take a look at the old MIT Lisp Machine they have there. Lisp is a programming language created by John McCarthy in 1957 (pictured on the left) to pursue artificial intelligence, a term he actually coined. There’s no question that the AlphaGo dream would not have been possible without the important work of AI pioneers like McCarthy. Of course the approaches used by AlphaGo are quite different, but the benchmark of computers besting humans at deep strategic games is nearly as old as the field of computing itself.
The other reason I was so interested in getting a look at this machine is that I write software with Lisp, a new-ish dialect called Clojure. In our modern technology driven world, anything older than two years is considered obsolete, so Lisp at nearly 60 years seems particularly antiquated. However I’ve spent the past week playing a game with as much enthuasiam and excitement as people did some 4000 years ago, so perhaps that’s another reason why I’m so attracted to Go - it really puts the passing of time into perspective.
After the MIT Museum Ien gave me tour of the MIT campus. We walked through many of the famous buildings and libraries including the Stata Center and the MIT Media Lab. At one point we stopped off in the famous lecture hall 10-250. Here’s a shot of Ien writing “Lisp Lives!” on a blackboard.
After the MIT tour we jumped on the metro to the Boston Convention Center where we met an architect friend of Ien’s who is now based in Boston. Ien and Eric had known each other from a previous collaboration. Eric showed us a very cool project called Swing Time which from what I was told is pretty popular in Boston now. It was quite beautiful and I snapped a picture before I tried them out myself.
After that we had a cocktail at a nearby spot and we then took an Uber back to the Evening League.
I spied Nathan Eagle working through some cool designs for the National Go Center website. I have no doubt it’s totally gonna rock when it’s released for all the world to see. We chatted for a bit about his US Open game and we started walking through a review. Kevin Hwang came by to say hello and he also hadn’t seen GoKibitz before. During the review Nathan pointed out some features of GoKibitz that I didn’t even know existed!
It was starting to get late but somehow Kevin still convinced me to do a Go Talk interview. It was a lot of fun and I hope I didn’t look or sound too tired.
Ien and I then retired to rest up for Round 4.