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Students defeat 'gaokao robot' in round one math test | Updated: 2017-03-17 09:50

Students defeat '<EM>gaokao</EM> robot' in round one math test

A candidate is busy preparing for gaokao, May 23, 2016. [Photo/IC]

High school students have defeated an artificial intelligence device designed to pass the national college entrance exam, in Chengdu City, Southwest China's Sichuan province.

Forty-three students from liberal arts classes in their last year at Chengdu Shishitianfu High School joined the two-hour contest to finish a math test in the standard national entrance exam, or gaokao, against the robot, the brainchild of four years of research by Zhun Xing Yun Xue Technology Co, Ltd.

Students scored 106 points on average, outperforming the computer program that had 93 points. But this was the first match in four years for the AI test taker to compete. Its score was also higher than the average among liberal arts students who took the gaokao in Sichuan last year.

She Yujia, a student in the contest, said she felt like fighting the program on behalf of humans, especially after Google's AlphaGo beat professional Go player Lee Sedol of South Korea last year.

Researchers who developed the AI test taker, which is also part of a project by the Ministry of Science and Technology, said the failure was due to a poor understanding of concepts in application-centered math problems such as the meaning of investment and financing.

Lin Hui, CEO of the developing company, said the program can understand more than 7,000 concepts ranging from those in elementary to high school education. With a huge knowledge database, the program can now finishes about 10 math tests a day.

Lin said more efforts will be made to fix bugs and improve performance of the program, with a focus on math application.

The company plans to let the AI attend the real gaokao math test along with millions of Chinese students. Like its human peers, it will be asked to complete a 150-point math test in two hours in a room without Internet access.

Chinese students are usually separated into science and liberal arts classes at high school, a practice that allows them to stay competitive in the college entrance exam by choosing preferred subjects. Math tests for liberal arts students are usually easier than those given to science students.

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