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Robot created to ace Chinese math exams barely beats humans

They may be unbeatable at chess and Go, but robots are having trouble nailing university entrance exams.

Zoey Chong Reporter
Zoey is CNET's Asia News Reporter based in Singapore. She prefers variety to monotony and owns an Android mobile device, a Windows PC and Apple's MacBook Pro all at the same time. Outside of the office, she can be found binging on Korean variety shows, if not chilling out with a book at a café recommended by a friend.
Zoey Chong
2 min read
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AI-MATHS is trying to get into college.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Unbeknownst to students sitting for China's grueling college entrance exams, a robot was vying for a spot in one of the country's most prestigious universities. But it doesn't pose much threat yet.

Called AI-MATHS, the robot completed one version of a two-hour Maths paper in 22 minutes and scored 105 points out of the maximum score of 150, reports the state-run Xinhua. AI-MATHS scored 100 points in another version of the paper which it completed in 10 minutes. The national average last year was 109.

AI-MATHS isn't perfect, but it's getting smarter. The last time it took a similar exam, in February, it scored 93 points, barely passing. It's doing better than Torobo, a robot developed by the University of Tokyo that attempted the university's entrance exams but failed. After four unsuccessful attempts, the team eventually abandoned the project last year.

AI-MATHS couldn't understand words like "students" and "teachers," leading to it losing marks in key questions, said Lin Hui, CEO of Chengdu Zhunxingyunxue Technology, the company that developed AI-MATHS.

AI-MATHS is developed as part of a project by China's Ministry of Science and Technology to develop a robot that can do well enough in the entrance exams to enter local top universities, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University by 2020.

Despite the robots' failures to gain university admissions, they're doing well in co-curricular activities. Last month,  Google 's AlphaGo emerged victorious in a match against Go champion Ke Jie, who called it a "God of Go."

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