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Fall 2013 Schedule
Winter 2014 Schedule

2012/11/30, MC103, 14:30 - 15:30

An Overview of Computer Chess: History and Lessons
Monty Newborn , McGill University


This talk will survey the history of computer chess from Charles Babbage to IBM's Deep Blue and ending with the current year. It will attempt to cover some of the general artificial intelligence lessons that have been learned as a result of years of research and development. Once up a time the top chess players laughed at the play of computers. Then in the 1980s and 1990s, they came to watch how well they were doing. Today, they are learning from computers. While chess players are learning to play chess by competing with computers, computer scientists are using the knowledge gained when designing other AI systems. This talk will assume the audience is not composed of chess experts! The lessons are related to: Intuition, programming languages, computer speed, brute-force search (versus selective search), hash tables, iteratively deepening search, and endgame play. Pre Deep Blue history includes the ideas of: Babbage, Turing, Shannon, McCarthy, Slate, Thompson (Belle), and Bob Hyatt (Cray Blitz). Deep Blue’s two matches: First match with Kasparov in 1996 – Kasparov won 4-2, Second match with Kasparov in 1997 – Deep Blue won 3.5 – 2.5. Post Deep Blue history: Three major man-machine matches – man unable to win. Increasingly stronger programs—Fritz, Shredder, Junior, Hydra, Zappa, Rybka, Houdini.

Biography of Speaker:

Newborn's research has focused on search problems in artificial intelligence where two areas have been of particular interest: chess-playing programs and automated theorem-proving programs. He has published eight books on these subjects and a number of research papers as well. His most recent book published by Springer is entitled Beyond Deep Blue. He served as chairman of the ACM Computer Chess Committee from 1981 until 1997. In that capacity he organized the first Kasparov versus Deep Blue match (known as the ACM Chess Challenge) in 1996. The following year he served as head of the officials at the second Kasparov versus Deep Blue match won by Deep Blue. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, his chess program Ostrich competed in five world championships, coming close to winning the first one in 1974. Newborn also developed two automated theorem-proving programs, Theo and Octopus. Octopus is a multiprocessor version of Theo and has run on more than 100 PCs during past ATP competitions.