I haven't gotten to reply to the first comment here yet, so let me do that now.
What did Fan Xie said?Yes, I certainly can elaborate! I did not get to know Fan Xie terribly well, except to help badger him into joining the NoGo tournament. (He nearly did not play! Luckily, Neil McKay is a persuasive individual!) I didn't pay a great amount of attention to Fan's games, aside from his game against the winning NoGo program. This was a wonderful match, because Fan spent too much time analyzing and explaining whether the computer's moves were good or not (and he did not write that program). Instead of focusing on winning, he was answering everyone else's questions, so the computer came out ahead.
How strong is he?
How did the program worked? (Monte Carlo?)
Can you elaborate on that ? :)
I believe all the computer programs used Monte Carlo (multiple random trial) techniques. From what I understand, they were all modified versions of UAlberta's Go-playing program FueGo. I would like to spend more time talking about this, but the most interesting thing is that these Monte Carlo programs are so easily adaptable from one game to the next. In fact, I believe much of the software is written independent of the different game rules. If you supply the rules, the simulations will run and choose a probable good move.
I am not convinced that this works well for all games, however! I'd like to know how well the algorithm plays Chess, or even Nim! (Maybe impartial games are tough...)