Fujitsu Laboratories Limited today announced that a software program developed for the game of shogi-a Japanese board game with similarities to chess-recently won a match against one of Japan's shogi masters. "Bonkras," a shogi software program developed by one of its researchers, Eiki Ito, took 113 moves to overcome former shogi champion Kunio Yonenaga of the Japan Shogi Association on January 14. The match between Yonenaga and Bonkras, which was dubbed the "First Shogi Master Versus Machine Match," was held at the Japan Shogi Hall in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward.
Yonenaga vs. Bonkras
Bonkras, developed by Fujitsu researcher Eiki Ito, is proprietary shogi software based on the Bonanza(2) open source computer shogi software. Through technology that enables it to efficiently run the CPUs of multiple computers in parallel, Bonkras is capable of high-speed calculations that could not previously be performed using just one computer. Its characteristic feature is its resulting ability to think many moves ahead. Bonkras achieved overall victory at the 21st World Computer Shogi Championship(3), which was sponsored by the Computer Shogi Association(4) and held in May of 2011. The name "Bonkras" was coined by combining "Bonanza" with the Japanese pronunciation of "cluster," which denotes parallel computing.
In 1997, a computer was victorious in a game of chess against a human champion. In shogi, however, any piece that is taken can be put back into play, making it a more complex game than chess. In the game against former shogi chanpion Yonenaga, Bonkras employed Fujitsu PRIMERGY BX400 with six blade servers to read about 18 million moves in one second. With that performance power, Bonkras was able to achieve a decisive victory.
About Research at Fujitsu Laboratories
Fujitsu Laboratories is advancing the research and development of various technologies that are essential to bring about a human-centric intelligent society. Its shogi-related research is one approach to artificial intelligence from the perspective of data processing technologies, and it is designed to match up against the highest-level human abilities in the field of shogi. Through computer shogi, it is also developing technologies essential to the realization of human-centric IT, such as machine learning that enables computers to determine which shogi move is best and parallel processing to perform large quantities of calculations at high speed.