According to Wikipedia, there are over 40 million Go players worldwide. And last month (march 2016) we discovered that one of the best is an AI (artificial intelligence) named AlphaGo, who lives in London.
AlphaGo was actually developed by Google Deepmind, which is based in London. But its core algorithm, which learned new strategies for itself by playing thousands of games between its various neural networks, does quite a lot of travelling. AlphaGo makes extensive use of the global Google Cloud Platform to access the colossal amount of computing power required.
And it certainly needs it. Hailing from ancient China, Go is simultaneously one of the oldest, simplest looking and most complex board games in the world. Although it uses just two kinds of pieces – white stones and black stones – there are more than 10170 possible games. In fact, it is considered by some to be even more strategic than Chess, which has only 10120 possible outcomes.
Connecting the dots
AlphaGo is proving to be a serious contender. In March, it beat the South Korean ninth professional Go player Lee Seedol four games out of five in a competition that made the news worldwide. The South Korean Government was so impressed that it immediately announced it would invest US$863 million (1 trillion won) in artificial-intelligence (AI) research over the next five years.
But, I think the biggest lesson we can learn from AlphaGo’s success isn’t that computers can be smart. It is that anything is possible, so long as you have the imagination, the expertise … and ability to line -up the stones in the most strategic way!
This is especially true when it comes to today’s business that relies heavily on technology. A delay of a few seconds may not be the end of the world when you are playing board games. But milliseconds can make a multi-million dollar difference in financial services, and latency or disruptions can be crippling to content companies.
That’s not the end of the story. These days, who a business can “talk” to, share information with and buy services from is just as important as speed and reliability. The ability to quickly enhance or expand an organization’s capability or reach is a critical success factor in the current economic landscape.
In fact, Equinix has a name for doing that. We call it the Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™)
Ahead of the game
As it is becoming clearer across all industries that “every company is a data company”, Equinix puts this data at the heart of IOA™.
The idea of IOA™ is simple — with data being created, formed and distributed in all forms and sizes – be it millions of people, thousands of locations and hundreds of clouds, data has been increasingly processed and analyzed at edge locations, rather than taken back to core.
In other words, edge locations become the transaction hub of data. This is the cornerstone of IOA™, which directly interconnects all users, suppliers and customers at these edge hub locations to increase efficiency and exploring new business opportunities.
IOA shifts the fundamental IT delivery architecture from siloed and centralized to interconnected and distributed, unlocking immense opportunities to interconnect with users, prospects and suppliers at edging locations where possible.
Embracing IOA™ does not mean companies have to start from scratch or ditch all old or existing infrastructure. The Equinix interconnection platform provides the critical building blocks to implement this architecture – a global footprint, dense cloud and service provider ecosystems, and the ability to integrate data and analytics at the edge.
What’s more, this combination of global reach and service provider density allows enterprises to bring their applications, data and networks closest to their users, customers and business partners.
Playing to win
It remains to be seen whether AlphaGo will continue its winning streak. However, in an unsettled economic climate, enterprises are clearly playing to win. Many have already recognized the critical importance of connecting with each other to exchange data traffic and turned to Equinix to implement an IOA strategy.
Who knows, maybe one of them will even be the next global Go champion. With the right attitude … and an Interconnection Oriented Architecture … anything’s possible!