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January 16, 2012
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.

Fujitsu's Shogi Software Tops Former Shogi Champion Kunio Yonenaga

Step forward for research into artificial intelligence

Kawasaki, Japan, January 16, 2012 — 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(1) 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.

About Bonkras

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.


Glossary and Notes

Japan Shogi Association:
Headed by Kunio Yonenaga
Bonanza:
Open source computer software for shogi that was played against The Ryuosen (Dragon King title) tournament champion Akira Watanabe in 2007. (Developed by Kunihito Hoki, Assistant Professor, Center for Frontier Science and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications)
World Computer Shogi Championship:
A tournament held by the Computer Shogi Association. The first was held in 1990, and Bonkras won the 21st championship in 2011.
Computer Shogi Association:
Headed by Takenobu Takizawa of Waseda University.
URL: http://www.computer-shogi.org

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a leading provider of information and communication technology (ICT)-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 170,000 employees supporting customers in over 100 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$55 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.

About Fujitsu Laboratories

Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials.
For more information, please see: http://jp.fujitsu.com/labs/en.

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