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10 Years After Big Blue Beat Garry Kasparov

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-does-it-mean-man dept.

Supercomputing 368

Jamie found another MIT Technology review story, this time about Chess, Supercomputing, Garry Kasparov, and trying to make sense of just what exactly it all meant when a computer finally beat a grand master. An interesting piece that touches on what it means to play chess, the difference between humanity and machinery and how super computers don't care when they are losing. Worth your time.

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368 comments

the supercomputers advantage... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235377)

It stays relatively cool under pressure.

Problem is, it heats up under load.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235393)

in defense of kasparov, big blue also had help from kasparov's previous competitors to look over and recommend moves for big blue to move, so it wasn't really the machine alone that beat kasparov, he was defeated by a supercomputer and a few of his previous competitors.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (3, Informative)

zebs (105927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235427)

Wouldn't a human competitor examine Kasparovs previous matches and come up with a strategy based on their own experience Kasparovs past games?

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (3, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235453)

Yes but a human competitor could also play the whole match. The point of the match was supposedly to demonstrate that the computer can perform the task (chess) better than a human but the computer still needed significant human help.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235585)

> but the computer still needed significant human help.

As I understand it, the humans provided patterns of moves that were historically proven to be strong ones. I suspect that if you gave big blue as many years (and sufficient storage) to chew on the problem as most of the human grand masters have, it would come up with some amazing opening sequences on its own.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236013)

The computer lives in accelerated time. So it has probably had as much "experience" as any grand master.

Plus, the computer can be fed canned "experience". That's rather the whole point of the machine.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (5, Interesting)

feijai (898706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235939)

Sure. But Kasparov didn't have access to Deep Blue's "previous games", or indeed any information about the system at all. They kept him in the dark. IBM also insisted that there be no game breaks -- not an issue for Deep Blue of course -- but a very *big* deal for professional chess players. But most importantly, IBM's team of chess masters and coders modified the system between chess games after analyzing Kasparov's strategy the previous game. That is, he wasn't playing Deep Blue: he was playing Deep Blue being adapted in semi-real-time by a bunch of human experts. And crucially, IBM hid this fact, knowing that it'd be (rightly) considered highly suspect.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235573)

big blue also had help from kasparov's previous competitors to look over and recommend moves
 
Since they kept tweaking the program even between games it wasn't possible for Kasparov to do the same. And then there's the way the computer has the first 20 or so moves ( a LOT more than the typical chess program of the day) already precalculated and didn't need to use time on its clock to whip out the next perfect move.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235675)

Since they kept tweaking the program even between games it wasn't possible for Kasparov to do the same.
Are you proposing that Kasparov doesn't "tweak" his game play? That he doesn't learn and adapt?

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (5, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235811)

Are you proposing that Kasparov doesn't "tweak" his game play? That he doesn't learn and adapt?
No, but if I recall correctly Kasparov was not given the equivalent game history of big blue to learn how it plays. There was a crucial move one of the early games where Kasparov essentially set a trap -- a situation where computers always opt for one move, but a more subtle human player opts for a different strategy. Given the computers play so far, which had conformed exactly to how computers play, Kasparov was fairly confident. But then deep blue went the other way, against anything any other computer would have done, and completely against all expectation. That really threw Kasparov; he thought IBM was cheating since the move deep blue made was so uncharacteristic for a computer (and even for deep blue's play so far). Things quickly went downhill from there because Kasparov really had no idea what he was playing against anymore, while the computer had been trained extensively on his style of play.

As far as I know no explanation for the strange uncharacteristic move was given by IBM, and deep blue didn't make any other startlingly non computer like moves for the rest of the tournament. It's a rather interesting puzzle.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

cashdot (954651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235743)

Yes, big blue had an extensive knowledge about Kasparov's playing pattern, whereas Kasparov did not have the opportunity to learn something about big blue's way to play. AFAIK, all of Kasparov's request for test games were refused.

For me, this is highly unfair and the proof, that a machine plays better chess than man, is not yet given.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235787)

"For me, this is highly unfair and the proof, that a machine plays better chess than man, is not yet given."

It's only a matter of time though. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Chess involves no random chance, and given enough time (and memory) and a brute force search, a computer can always figure out the perfect move to play. The time that this takes is getting shorter and shorter as we get faster and more parallel processors. You seem to be taking the whole thing as an affront to humanity, but really it's nothing to be worried about. Playing chess is totally different from playing poker, riding a bike, cleaning your living room, talking, etc. Computers have a long way to go before they're 'better' than us..

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

cashdot (954651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236281)

I completely agree with you, it is only a matter of time. And I don't take it as an affront to humanity.

My point is, that we have not provably reached this milestone yet.

In chess it seems to be vital to know its opponent, and in this respect the competition was unnecessarily unfair.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235519)

IBM's next chess supercomputer, Big Wuss, is rumoured to care when it is losing.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1, Funny)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235655)

I'd be more worried about the "Big Wookie" while its losing...

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

SuurMyy (1003853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236565)

My thoughts exactly. Terminator 2, anyone ?

Isn't it enough that ppl act in horridly stupid ways - do we also have to create computers that also inherit our bad qualities ?

Somehow I can envision a future where there are computers who have become too lazy to recycle.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235747)

And after reading the article:

"Both the man and the computer presumably do massive amounts of "brute force" computation on their very different architectures"

The guy has no idea what he is talking about.. I started thinking maybe he did when he used the words 'heuristics', but brute force means going through every possible move. Humans will never be able to do that as quickly as computers can. He also said that Deep Blue uses heuristics, which means it's not just brute forcing its way, but it doesn't seem like he knows what brute force means in terms of AI.. at least he said 'presumably', showing that he really is only talking out of his ass.

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

egyptiankarim (765774) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236133)

"Both the man and the computer presumably do massive amounts of "brute force" computation on their very different architectures"

There's a joke somewhere in there about how essentially all nerds (chess players, /.ers and highly specialized super computers alike) spend their free time doing massive amounts of brute force to their architectures... But I'm not going to make it... :)

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (3, Informative)

anonymous coward 2.0 (751581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235559)

Computers playing chess is mostly an expression of the advances in computing power, and only slightly of our ability to create AI. Chess has too small a search space, and brute force is quasi-feasible. Larger games such as Go, (a.k.a. Baduk, Wei qi) are far more interesting, since the board is too big and the subtle effects of a single play radiate across the entire board. Computers still can't even come close to beating a talented child let alone a ranked professional. (Go is also a really fun game to play... a little web searching will tell you more about it.)

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235677)

But, even an idiot computer can kick my ass at Go :-(

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235763)

He makes a good point. I would be intrested to know if there are some people that just "get" Go and some that don't. When I play, I feel like a computer, trying to see all of the options and just feeling plain overloaded. Some play as if they are "feeling" their way through it. I'm constantly swapping to disk...

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

CristianoMonteiro (20665) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236049)

Too small search space ??? since when a game-tree complexity of at least 10^123 [wikipedia.org] is too small ? If the estimated number of atoms in the Universe (10^81) is close to true we can't even store the whole tree in a machine for later search ! the computer would have to calculate and heavily prune every single move (excluding the end game)

Re:the supercomputers advantage... (1)

cannon fodder 0109 (787777) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235937)

It stays relatively cool under pressure.


IIRC this was the problem, Kasparov lost 2.5 - 3.5 over a six game match.

However he resigned in game 3 in a position that was drawn not losing - the match should have finished as a 3 - 3 draw.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235483)

But what about 'Go'? 'Go' is much harder for computers to play. Let's all talk about 'Go'.

Re:Obligatory (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235627)

What about backgammon? Go is the same sort of problem as Chess; it's a completely deterministic game, just just has a bigger decision tree. Both are games that could have been designed to be played by machines, rather than humans. Backgammon, as well as being older than both, is still incredibly hard for a computer to play well (and, bringing it somewhat back on-topic, the author of the best backgammon program, based on neural networks, currently works at IBM).

No Money! (1)

burnttoy (754394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235959)

I love backgammon and can see only one major flaw with playing against a computer... it has no money for me to take!

But (back on topic) - it could be said that backgammon, whilst maybe not deterministic (real world randomness), is not non-deterministic, at least as far as the creation of a game tree. I've no idea if I'm barking up the wrong tree but it seems that the decision tree of Backgammon must incorporate all (21?) possible die combos. Although the results of the dice are random there is (thanfully) still a finite number of possibilites.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235975)

Backgammon has some degree of randomness, too, since dice are involved.

If you want a computationally heavy game, look no farther than Go

Re:Obligatory (5, Interesting)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236097)

Actually, backgammon was essentially 'solved' in the 80's by a program known as TD-gammon, which used Temporal difference learning along with self play. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporal_difference_l earning [wikipedia.org]

As far as I know, the major difficulty in writing a strong go playing program isn't the search space, but the fact that there are so many opposing aims that it's very hard to write a good heuristic. For instance, players have to decide wether to go for speed or security in their play. Deciding whether to expand territory quickly and risk invasion, or to build up a small stronghold is a major factor in the game.

Re:Obligatory (1)

GloomCover (757640) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236519)

Actually, there is a backgammon AI that consistently beats human grandmasters. You're correct that it uses neural networks, and that the author, Gerald Tesauro, has done some pretty cool things, but you're under-representing its success. Without digging through my old IEEE paper stacks, the first thing I can find is from more than a decade ago when TD-Gammon was already playing grandmasters to a tie http://www.research.ibm.com/massive/tdl.html [ibm.com].

I also happen to thing backgammon is more interesting in chess because it isn't fully deterministic, which also explains why neural networks would meet with more success than a decision tree approach. Most of the AI involved in playing strong chess involves looking as many moves ahead as possible (I know there is more to it than just that, but thats the thrust of the technique), and of course as computers get faster you can look further ahead. Eventually you're able to look far enough ahead to see all possible outcomes of the game from any position. To me this barely qualifies as AI. That gives the computer more than just perfect information about the state of the game, it has perfect information about every state of every game. It is less a prediction than a simple A to B to C map of a win. Thats why games that are non-deterministic (like backgammon or any game with random dice rolls) or games where the players are given incomplete information (think poker or blackjack, few boardgames deal with incomplete information because it would require a neutral referee and probably be cumbersome and boring) are far more interesting for the field of AI.

Re:Obligatory (1)

K9black (620592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235899)

Go simply has too many possible moves. I know of no programs made thus far that can even approach Go playing capacity. And I doubt there will be any time soon.

Re:Obligatory (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236329)

Go simply has too many possible moves. I know of no programs made thus far that can even approach Go playing capacity. And I doubt there will be any time soon.

I agree [blogspot.com] with you as does the publisher of IEEE Intelligent Systems in a recent editorial [computer.org] of his.

Not only is the combinatorics in Go greater than that of Chess but also the pattern recognition requirements in Go are much greater than that of Chess. With Chess, you have things like passed pawns, zugzwang, sister squares, and open files to recognize. In Go, you have things like life and death, thickness, shape, and the direction of play that you must be able to recognize. IMHO, the Go patterns are much more abstract than the Chess patterns.

However, let me take this moment to plug a great OSS Go program, GNU Go [gnu.org], which is the AI player part, and Panda-glGo [pandanet.co.jp], which simulates a Go board and can integrate with GNU Go. This is a great way for beginners to drill and improve their Go playing skills.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236015)

Go is harder for humans to play, too.

I own a Go board, and only twice in the United States have I met somebody else who could play it. Tried teaching it to my family with some success, but they still prefer chess and checkers.

tempus fugit (2, Interesting)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235545)

Offtopic, but I really like these '10 years after' articles, because it helps me sit back and think about the last decade. I was thinking this had been more recent, didn't realize an entire decade has passed... Kinda fun to actually think about what all has changed, and what hasn't.

yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235741)

your mom's twat's quite a bit looser, for one.

Summary (2, Informative)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235553)

I thought I'd save y'all some time and some page views. The following summarizes everything you will take away from the article:

"10 years ago Kasparov was beaten by a computer. The computer used a brute force searching method that pruned a lot of move trees. How do you know Kasparov's brain didn't do the same thing? The only clear difference is that humans can be intimidated, but that's not to humans' credit. Oh, and Fisher Random chess is designed to force more computational power to be used during the game rather than before."

What is "intelligence" (5, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235577)

People seem to be very sensitive about computers doing things they think only humans should be able to do. They dismiss defeating a chess grand master or the Turing Test as toy problems.

I did an AI degree in the mid 90s and one of the things we covered was the definition of intelligence. After running through a few unsatisfactory definitions, my conclusion was that people used intelligence to mean whatever could be done better by a human being than anything else...

Actually, my favourite definition of intelligence, partly because of its succinctness, is "productive laziness".

Peter

Re:What is "intelligence" (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235717)

People seem to be very sensitive about computers doing things they think only humans should be able to do.

True, but I think that's just a special case of the general rule that, "People don't like when their expertise is systematized so that others can easily gain it." (Probably a better way to say that.)

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235757)

Indeed. This is why skills which are hard to systematize tend to be a lot more valuable.

I spend a lot of time trying to tell undergraduate computer scientists that a lot of geeks can learn to code, but far fewer geeks can learn to communicate with people in order to find out what needs to be coded and that this is therefore a much more marketable skill. Of course, most don't listen.

Peter

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235983)

That's because people who tend to enjoy coding don't tend to be the type of people who want to talk to people (generalisation, but I think a good one). I enjoy coding btw :P

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235993)

I certainly wish I could spend more of my time talking to people who don't enjoy coding more than they enjoy talking to people.

Sigh.

Peter

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236041)

Oh fine, be like that :p What are you doing on /. ? :P In fact I do enjoy talking to some people, and there are times when I would prefer to be talking than coding (most likely times involving friends of the female persuasion).

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236075)

I'm not sure that's true anymore (TBH, I'm not sure it ever was). I work in an office full of relatively normal, well-socialized folk, and they're all talented programmers, too. Further, the bulk of my graduating class (around, oh... 2002 or so? I can't remember...) were much the same. I also did a 16 month internship with Nortel Networks, in a research group no less, and they were all pretty normal people, by and large.

Slashdotters, OTOH... that's an entirely different matter. :)

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236077)

So? You don't even need a geek to gather requirements. Infact, being a geek might actually be a hinderance since you will likely be fixating on how to solve the problem rather than figuring out what the problem is.

It's probably no coincidence that the first killer app for the PC was concieved by a subject matter expert and not a computer scientist.

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

Obvius (779709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236045)

"my conclusion was that people used intelligence to mean whatever could be done better by a human being than anything else" That's a pretty subtle definition and I admit I didn't like it to begin with. I prefer to think that intelligence carries with it some sense of an original act of creation - be it a piece of writing, or a thought, or even an idea. To that extent I'd like to suggest that your definition is better expressed as 'whatever is done better by a human being than anything else - at this point in history'. I don't see why humanity has a monopoly on intelligence - sufficiently adavanced algorithms might come up with great ideas in future and where will your definition be then?

Re:What is "intelligence" (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236081)

To me, "intelligence" is basically any brain function we haven't figured out how to simulate yet. The only thing holding back AI, is our own lack of understanding.

Re:What is "intelligence" (5, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236599)

People seem to be very sensitive about computers doing things they think only humans should be able to do. They dismiss defeating a chess grand master or the Turing Test as toy problems.
I guess you can count me as one of those people. I don't think it's a big deal that a computer can solve complex math problem or play chess well. Most people would have a difficult time with that. While math, science and engineering are great things and have provided a lot of benefit to us, I'm more interested in the sort of 'hunter/gatherer on the African Savannah' problems. Those to me seem to be the basis of human intelligence.

For instance, how do you see a trail as it winds over grassland and leads into the woods? How does one see a year old trail that is partially overgrown, or a new trail not completely tramped down. How do you track down an animal from smattering of scat, nibbles and tracks over rocks, dirt, grassland, and the tree line? How does a human being see a camouflaged predator slinking behind the tree line? How do you read the sky and know what the weather will be later that day? How do you look at a river and know if it's crossable or not? Back at home, how do you play your relatives, friends, and enemies in the tribe so that you are elected leader when the Big Man passes away? Or how do you manage to convince your husband that your new pregnancy is his, and not your secret lovers'?

Computers seem to be like idiot savants. They are good at logic puzzles, things like factoring large number or memorizing the phone books. That's a very useful tool in our technological society, but I don't think it's the basis of human intelligence. Like some Autistic person, computers suck as the basics of social interaction, which any three year old understands the basic concepts of. I remember my friend's three year old putting on her parents clothes and getting dressed up when she heard that her parents were going to a Halloween party -- all without prompting. What kind of intelligence do you need to understand the concepts of 'a party' or 'dressing up'? Or simple thinks like standing on two legs or filling a glass of water -- never mind hunting and eating another animal, or following a trail.

I did an AI degree in the mid 90s and one of the things we covered was the definition of intelligence. After running through a few unsatisfactory definitions, my conclusion was that people used intelligence to mean whatever could be done better by a human being than anything else...
Well, my definition includes things that organic nervous systems are good at, such as walking, migrating, or hunting.

It is a game of logic (3, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235591)

From the article, "Chess requires brilliant thinking, supposedly the one feat that would be--forever--beyond the reach of any computer."

Oh, please. The hubris is overwhelming.

I play the game. I am not a great players, but it is a fun diversion and can help to develop focus and thinking skills. But, please, to say that Chess could have been beyond a computer? That is small, ignorant thinking.

The human brain excels at pattern matching in massive parallelism. It is this advantage we have over our current computers. But, new computer designs have gotten fast and with lotsa memory and storage space. It was only a matter of time until a computer had the right amounts of that speed, memory and storage space, coupled with programmers to make the best use of it and then no human would ever stand a chance.

As we get better with fuzzy AI type stuff, even games like Poker, Texas Hold 'em and others will even fall from our human hands.

The intuition we exercise is some random choice being made, but based on experience and a factor of acceptable risk of failure.

Games of Chance vs. Games of Skill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235901)

"...even games like Poker, Texas Hold 'em and others will even fall from our human hands."

Hardly. There is one overriding feature of these games that differentiates them from more structured games: luck and randomness.

The idea that the game is "within" our hands is negated by the fact that there is an entire industry of separating people from their money built upon the simple fact that it largely comes down to luck. The general rule is that because of the constructs of the game you will lose more often than you will win; there are exceptions to this rule and people can mitigate the randomness to some degree, but the rule still stands.

Re:It is a game of logic (1)

jrentona (989920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235967)

I wouldn't dismiss this one quite so easily. Our number system is simple enough to explain to any young child; but its applications are limitless.

This event served to give credence to the concept of autonomous systems; possibly contributing to the expanding acceptance of the US military for the development of unmanned drones. The success of these programs of late is already expanding into the army as we speak. Chess isn't the only zero-sum game that can be fed to a computer as a simple model; and intuition can be counterbalanced by fear, anxiety and doubt - all of which being completely absent in a machine.

Do we need to chase after the holy grail of "True AI"? This is an interesting academic problem; but I don't believe this is truly necessary to producing viable autonomous solutions.

To be honest, the real threat posed by information technology is the softening of the population at large as a result of offloading problem solving and critical thinking over to machines. The internet has spawned an epidemic of cheating. You can probably get a high school degree today without making a single cogent arguement of your own. Calculators are allowed in the earliest math classes. Machining is now entirely automated. Mechanical knowledge is no longer a prerequisite for working in most factories. Finding a mechanic that is capable of trouble shooting problems (rather than just plugging your car into a computer and replacing a part) is getting more and more difficult. Navigation is universally offloaded to GPS satellites. Purchases are made almost entirely electronically using credit cards. Try giving your next register operator change enough to get a full dollar back; and you are likely to get an entirely random result. There is even talk of developing autonomous cars to eliminate human error in driving.

Re:It is a game of logic (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236369)

As we get better with fuzzy AI type stuff, even games like Poker, Texas Hold 'em and others will even fall from our human hands.

Not only Poker, but Texas Hold'em as well???? Oh the hu^H^Hrobotics!

Seriously, I don't see this happening with pure AI. Add some bio-sensing mechanism to help determine whether or not the opponent is bluffing, the strength of a semi-bluff, and then you're talking. A pro player should be able to change his game enough to keep the AI from confirming a pattern. The only advantage the AI would have over the human would be the ability to calculate pure odds to many decimal places, and that won't be enough.

Re:It is a game of logic (1, Interesting)

nicklott (533496) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236405)

It is a game of logic
No, no it's not. Not if you're any good anyway. I lost interest in chess when I was about 13 when I realised that the people who were beating me at chess were simply memorising moves and positions and treating it as a test of memory rather than logic. I actually got through about three rounds in an inter-schools tournament (despite being an awful player) simply by doing stupid moves that no one was prepared for. That random/fisher chess sounds like a solution, but frankly there are better and more fun games around these days.

Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess? (2, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235635)

Later. Later. Right now, let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

Re:Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess? (1)

Late-Eight (1026794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235739)

"the difference between humanity and machinery and how super computers don't care when they are losing."

With this in mind, its probably the only game you would never want it to play. After all it wouldn't care if we both lost.

Re:Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235781)

"the difference between humanity and machinery and how super computers don't care when they are losing."

Suicide bombers?

Some of the problems. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235697)

Garry Kasparov ego probably caused him to loose more then his brain power or his chess skills. Having a computer give him an extreamly challanging game got him fustrated thus making mistakes.

The Computer doesn't care it is just focusing on the game 100% it is not even conserned if it is breathing or not overheating or a person behind it with a gun to shoot it if it looses. It is just running a set of processes, and using its memory to play the game.

Re:Some of the problems. (3, Insightful)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236127)

The Computer doesn't care it is just focusing on the game 100%

and more to the point, the computer doesn't even know what chess is. It's just adding, subtracting, fetching instructions from memory, etc. It's kind of like how a guy in a box doesn't really understand chinese, or how none of your brain cells actually know what slashdot is.

I wonder if it would be more accurate to say that a system, which included a computer as one of its parts, but also included a human programmer, beat Kasparov. Kind of like how it's not accurate to say that a few neurons and muscle fibers posted to slasdot. My brain cells and my fingers don't know what they're doing, any more than Big Blue knew what it was doing.

not really AI (1, Interesting)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235707)

While it was impressive to have a computer win against the "chess master" it accomplished this task by looking ahead as many board configurations as possible based on the current board and the probability its opponent would make certain moves. This is a stategy no human could ever employ due to the sheer processing power it requires to run all the permutation calculations. I believe a system capable of actually "learning", like a trained neural network, would be a fair match for the human brain. As it stands there is no real intelligence being used.

Re:not really AI (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235945)

RTFA. It says that Deep Blue couldn't search everything either, and had to use heuristics to cut off unfruitful branches, and then argued that this is exactly what Kasparov does. To the extent that he's just applying heuristics gathered from experience to cut off unfruitful searches, he doesn't have intelligence either.

Re:not really AI (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236607)

the heuristic functions are programmed into Deep Blue, they were not self emergent-- like the operations performed in a neural network. So unless you can tell me, definitively that a higher being specifically programmed heuristics functions into Kasparov's head, I'm sure you'll agree with me when i say his chess playing ability was emergent.

Re:not really AI (4, Informative)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236373)

While it was impressive to have a computer win against the "chess master" it accomplished this task by looking ahead as many board configurations as possible....

There in is why many who play chess don't take this match seriously.

Some flaws, first to play a grand master you need to qualify and play others. Then you enter a tournament and build up to play. This leave a trail of your style of play, your weaknesses and your strengths. A true match, your opponent would study your last games before he moved the first piece!

In this case, it was completely bypassed, placing the single player against machine at a disadvantage. Should it have been a real tournament play, I suspect the machine would have done well but lost. And there was one game I watched where he lost and he was either having a bad day or tossed it.

Re:not really AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236401)

Agreed. I actually found it quite interesting that it took that much brute force to beat a grand master. It showed that chess is a very complicated game, and that humans are pretty darned good at some tasks. Making bigger and faster computers is applying the same technology we've had for ages at the problem. We just scale better today than we did decades ago. What will be REALLY interesting is when optimization algorithms are capable of beating a grand master using a computer equivalent to today's cell phones, or worse. I've worked with various optimization technologies to tackle a certain problem I won't mention here, and they really are impressive. We had humans that could do the same thing, including forecasting based on a "hunch". Of course when you analyze that, there is no thing as a hunch, it's much more an educated guess, but that's very hard to do with a computer without feeding it more data than we would want to think about. We ended up with a very complex combination of optimization algorithms that would switch back and forth (the algorithms themselves would predict which method was better or worse at the particular point in the calculation) which was fast and very effective, but it was still hard to beat a professional. We finally managed to beat the humans, but it wasn't easy, and the win was very marginal. Mind you we had a bunch of people, some of the best brains around, thrown at the problem.

In the end, this gave me a very interesting perspective on the direction of computing. Up until recent years, bigger (memory etc.), faster and smaller (physical size) was the name of the game. It still is, and will continue to do so for quite a while I'm sure, but sometime in the last decade or so there has been more and more work into USING the computer more effectively. NOW we're finally starting to tap the power of the computer. It made me want to go to school all over again.

This article would be more relevant if (4, Insightful)

feijai (898706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235729)

...Dennett (the man!) started with an acknowledgement of the fact that IBM cheated.

After it was discovered that IBM was tinkering using chess experts (that is, humans) to tinker with its software between matches, they're personae non gratae in the chess world now.

Re:This article would be more relevant if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235857)

I agree. This seems to me to be the simplest explaination. Big Blue won because it had all
the experience of several chess masters rolled into one player. Kasparov was actually playing
against multiple masters at the same time who had a powerful ability to create consensus to
conclude on a single move through the programming of Big Blue.

Exactly. (1, Troll)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236211)

People quickly forget (or delude themselves). Kasparov wasn't defeated by a machine, but by a team of experts using a machine. There's a huge difference.

Still, who cares? Chess is a solvable game, and brute force will eventually win. Not impressive at all, and there's nothing to do with intelligence.

A chess player's take on this (4, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235749)

Back in the early 1990s, I used to play in chess tournaments. I wasn't very good though and I didn't play at a high level, but I did play in official tournaments that the USCF (United States Chess Federation) sanctioned. My goal at the time was to try to make grand master. I gave up because of 2 reasons. The first was that I wasn't very good. I had serious problems in the middle game. My opening play and end game play were sound, but inevitably I would get beat in the middle game through carelessness. The second reason I gave up was because I realized that computers were ruining chess. Keep in mind that I am talking 1990-1993 here (I stopped playing in tournaments in 1993). In the old days, if you learned a chess opening, the moves might go 7 moves deep or so in most openings where the moves for the white and black pieces were known and any deviations from these set moves got you "out of book" as they say. If you deviated on, say, move 4 in a 7 move sequence, the odds were that your move was bad because if it was so good, it would have been known and used by other players and then be part of the book. At this time being "in book" was already starting to change because of computer analysis. Then you could go 10 moves or more in many openings and still be "in book". The amount of time and memory required to memorize these much deeper opening sequences was overwhelming. One day I realized that it just wasn't worth it and I'd rather devote my time and brain power to other things that I actually had some talent for, like learning other languages.

Chess is said to be "solvable". My understanding is that it can be proven mathematically that chess has a finite series of moves. If this is correct, then at some point computers will be powerful enough to be able win every game because they'll be able to analyze every possible opening all the way to the end and only pick the moves that will win. No human will ever be able to duplicate this feat. So it is inevitable that computers will eventually be unbeatable. I think just a few weeks ago Slashdot had an article that a computer program has been designed that is now at the point where it cannot lose at checkers - ever. Checkers is quite a bit less complex than chess and it has only now been solved. Whether it takes 10, 20, 50 or more years to solve chess, the day will come when computers simply cannot be beaten at chess under the current rules.

Should we care? Well, maybe not. Computers are better than humans at a lot of things, like mathematical calculations, so it's inevitable that they will be better than humans at chess. The downside is that once all chess games are solvable, it will ruin chess at the professional level. It will make it almost impossible for any game to be postponed until the next day because once there is a postponement, a player could, in theory, simply use a PC to analyze his game and find a sequence of moves where he cannot lose if he plays them correctly. At that point, there's no more human element in the game - it's simply a matter who can more accurately remember computer analysis. Computers ruined chess for me in the early 1990s. Can you imagine how much worse things are now? And how much worse they will be when the day comes that everybody can use a PC to analyze his game and find a way to never lose? At that point, I suspect that either chess will change to Fischer Random Chess as mentioned in the article or people who would have played chess will simply move on and play the game of go instead. Go is beyond the ability of current computers to solve and even the best computer programs can't beat strong human players.

Re:A chess player's take on this (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235923)

You could always pick up Go. Computers are going to suck at that for a lot longer than they sucked at chess

Re:A chess player's take on this (2, Insightful)

Joohn (310344) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235979)

I doubt things will be that different the day that chess is solved. The only reason that grand masters and computers have been so equal in strength the past years is almost certainly that both humans and computers are playing pretty close to perfect already as it is. The day computers play perfect chess the grand masters will, of course, not be able to win but I'm pretty sure they'll be able to get a fair share of draws.

Re:A chess player's take on this (3, Informative)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236071)

My understanding is that it can be proven mathematically that chess has a finite series of moves. If this is correct, then at some point computers will be powerful enough to be able win every game because they'll be able to analyze every possible opening all the way to the end and only pick the moves that will win. No human will ever be able to duplicate this feat.

Hate to break it to you, but "No [anything computational] will ever be able to duplicate this feat.", Machines or otherwise. This is due to the fact that the complete tree of moves (i.e. all possible plies of the entire game from starting position) has on the order of 10^120 nodes to evaluate, which is slightly bigger than the number of atoms in the known universe.

"It has been estimated that the total number of possible moves in chess is on the order of 10^120, or a 'one' with 120 zeros after it. . . . A supercomputer a thousand times faster than your PC, making a billion calculations a second, would need approximately 3x10^103 years to check out all of these moves" (Dixit and Skeath, 1999: 66).

When a modern chess-playing program does its evaluations it plays out a certain ply depth bounded by the fact that each ply is exponentially larger. I believe 12 ply is about what Deep Blue played at (I might be wrong on that). The program at no times attempts to play the game to a completion state, but rather finds the move that maximizes the minimum loss (as per a minimax algorithm presumably.)

In short, the situation you propose above would take more time than our Sol has left to burn while utilizing more memory than the universe has in atoms.

P.S. to nitpickers: If you find mistakes above, please correct them. I do think this is pretty much on target though...

Re:A chess player's take on this (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236103)

It will make it almost impossible for any game to be postponed until the next day because once there is a postponement, a player could, in theory, simply use a PC to analyze his game and find a sequence of moves where he cannot lose if he plays them correctly. ... And how much worse they will be when the day comes that everybody can use a PC to analyze his game and find a way to never lose?

Except that won't be possible. It's not as simple as remembering a sequence, because you have to also memorise all possible combinations depending on what moves the opponent then plays. At any given point in a game, the number of moves you'll have to remember increases exponentially with each move (just like at the start of the game).

Just because computers may solve chess is no help to a human, who has no hope of remembering every possible game!

Yes, you could cheat by using a computer to find what the perfect next move, and possibly a few moves after that if you assume the opponent will play perfectly. Though this sort of analysis/cheating is possible without computers, for example, you could ask a grandmaster what move you should take.

Re:A chess player's take on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236295)

Can you imagine how much worse things are now? And how much worse they will be when the day comes that everybody can use a PC to analyze his game and find a way to never lose?

Finally, I'll be able to beat GnuChess!

Re:A chess player's take on this (1)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236315)

Well, back to 1997 - most of what deep blue was constructed to was searching in database! Until few last moves of all the games, the turns played by deep blue were all extracted from database. So it was more like Garry Kasparov against our DB of all played chess games. Of course, the games in database was only played to limited amount of moves, so the end-game became crucial. That how all the draws were made - Garry thought computer has calculated all the possibilites to the end, so he agreed with draw. The truth was, that computer wasn't that good in end-game as all people around thought. IBM commited this later... Also, I would like to point out there is much more complicated game than chess, in which computers stand no chance againt human - Go. Despite the fact that it is the oldest table game in the world, todays best sw can play its best at the level of beginner who played go for 2 months. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(board_game) [wikipedia.org] It is believed that computers won't beat human in Go until nanocomputers become available. Go is unsolvable in terms of mathematic equations, because what can seem as a bad move in the opening game, can end up as brilliant move in the endgame. And typical game in go lasts around 200 moves. There are more possible games of go in the world that there is atoms in the universe...

Other games (1)

AkumaReloaded (1139807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235785)

I do not understand why some people compare Chess with games like taxes hold em or poker in general. What people seem to miss in my opinion is that unlike Chess which can be purely calculated, poker besides skill is also based on luck. Since a computer cannot bluff and does not have a pokerface or emotions for that matter, it does not rely on skill but on calculations. Which person has what cards, how big is the chance they have this and this card. The computer can than calculate his chances. However if the pc has bad luck it simply wont win every time. Thus the computer will never be albe to beat humans at poker ever single time simply because sometimes a human will get better cards and eventually win the game.

So in my opinion, no, computers will never beat humans at poker because chance cannot be calculated.

Re:Other games (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235931)

How many games are we talking about? 10? 1,000?

The idea is that with perfect play based on odds, the computer will win MORE. If bets are capped, then I can see a computer being able to consistantly win contests. However, with no-limit, I could see how computers may never get to that point as the human could just get lucky.

Re:Other games (1)

AkumaReloaded (1139807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236435)

Indeed that is what I meant. That although if rules are set for the game a computer can win. However with luck involved, in theory a computer could never win. I just wanted to point out that many people seem to disregard this when posting about computers that beat humans at poker.

It Didn't Mean Anything... (0, Troll)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235871)

I watch this event very closely at the time, and to me it didn't mean a thing. Here is why:

1. A Grandmaster Chess Player learns from his mistakes. If he played the IBM's Deep Blue 100 times in a row he would be beating it consistently at the end because of his ability to learn.
2. In between the 3 matches, IBM's Tech support when in and changed the macro/starting prams on the program's behavior and tailored them to Garry Kasparov and made associated adjustment.
3. IBM had a lot to gain by pulling this PR stunt
4. Garry Kasparov may be A Grandmaster Chess Player, but knew nothing about the IBM playing the "3 Card Monty" on him.

(ding my Karma down, i saw the whole event and bitched then)

if you saw the whole thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236059)

...then you also saw Kasparov quit after what he calls the "incident" and whine like a petulant 12 year old when his "ego" took a beating. "How dare it not take my pawn sacrifice! No one can beat me! Let me see the source! Waa!" Let's think about that for a minute, if he were playing another person would he ask them about their strategy between matches?

One has find it hard to believe that someone supposedly so "intelligent" couldn't fathom the premise that IBM may have had other motives going into the match to begin with.

Re:if you saw the whole thing... (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236345)

If I remember correctly, IBM offered him a large sum of money too. I am sure it had an effect on him accepting the offer in the first place. As for being a whiner, every Grandmaster Chess Player is bound to have a few idiosyncrasies.

I am sure the IBM Techs who were tweaking the Deep Blue's between match activities were very good. Unfortunately, from the publicity the match drew, various levels of peer review started to take place and they got caught (a.k.a. "The 3 Card Monty"). This why no serious research along "The Deep Blue v.s. Garry Kasparov Match" school of thought has produced any serious results. If anything it directed AI research in the wrong directions.

Re:It Didn't Mean Anything... (4, Insightful)

schweini (607711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236569)

I used to study AI for a while, and i just wanted to point out how unfair this line of reasoning is. Stuff like this ("Very nice, but it isn't *real* AI, because...") always comes up every time there's some AI break-though being discussed.
1. It's almost trivial to make a program 'learn' from mistakes. Just store some negative value for that specific decision-point. Depends on your definition of 'learning', of course. But the principle is the same in humans and AI
2. Kasparov also adjusted his style (i believe there are certain playing-styles that are beneficial when playing against an AI), and i bet he had coaches and consultants
3. So what?
4. See above.

My point is that every time some AI people actually manage to out-do humans, humans tend to re-define what intelligence is. I bet if you'd tell somebody 100 years ago that a machine would be the world's best chess player, that alone would have been enough to consider the machine 'intelligent of sorts'. But as soon as we know how it works, it somehow looses the right to be called 'intelligent' (mechanical turk). I think this is because it seems to hurt humans that AI shows them that whatever gives us the right to call ourselves 'intelligent' is nothing more than the result of zillions of relatively simple interactions of little protein-machines.
IIRC (its been a while) the best way to determine what language a given text is written in, is amazingly 'stupid': just compare the ratio of how many times the different characters appear. The result is still amazing and should be considered 'kind of intelligent'.

So, just give AI some kudos, accept that there's a lot left to be done, and that the heuristics dint really matter, as long as the result is cool. (and please dont give me none of that Chinese Room Argument crap)

Chess is a bad example of thinking (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20235893)

Chess is a bad example of what makes us different from computers. It's a game of brute force search, something that computers are good at, and we suck at. Just like Google is better at finding things on the internet than we are, computers are better at playing chess.

At each step in a game of chess, there is a finite, pre defined set of legal moves. You have up to 16 pieces you can move, and depending on their position, each piece has a number of pre-defined legal moves. As you try to look forward, the number of possible moves increases exponentially, but no matter how far forward you look, there is still a finite number of pre-defined legal moves.
No room for creativity at all. And that's where our difference comes in.

Computers are excellent at searching through a finite space of pre-defined values, which we in general suck at. On the other hand, we are excellent at coming up with creative solutions, where as the computer sucks at this (or rather, is completely unable to). That's why once the computer becomes fast enough, the computer will always win. Always. We are not there yet, but the computer is already winning most of the time.

What we are seeing in a match between Deep Blue and Kasparov is NOT a computer doing what humans are good at. It's a human doing what computers are good at. Kasparov has played for years to get as good as searching through a finite space of pre-defined values, where as computers have been doing this since day one. For the computer, the only difference is speed. For us, taking a mediocre player, and making him a million times faster is not going to make him play better. He'll just get beaten a million times faster.

Playing games like Chess (or even Go) is not the way to prove that we are more intelligent than computers. However, either game can be used to do exactly this. How? Not by playing...

Who came up with Chess?

When is the last time the computer came up with a game on it's own?

Re:Chess is a bad example of thinking (4, Funny)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236093)

Mine loves to play:

- When Is The Most Irritating Time To Crash

It also enjoys

- Fatal Exception Blocking The Save Function

Chess is so simple (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20235911)

Can someone explain to me what the difficulty in creating a computer chess master? Wouldn't it just be to create a function that outputs the move that provides the most possible ways of winning, then repeat that function until check mate? Obviously not. But why? I suck at chess.

Re:Chess is so simple (1)

K9black (620592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236043)

Maybe you should ask yourself why you suck at chess. It's all in the ability to read ahead, not only for your own moves but for your opponent's as well. And when playing a human who is very good at that the computations that must be made in order to win or draw can be quite extensive. After the first couple of moves in reading ahead the possibility chain usually grows exponentially. While a human doesn't always have to read these trees out, a computer has to. Not to mention the crazy amount of coding which must be created to allow a computer to use it's CPU to "play chess".

Re:Chess is so simple (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236549)

After the first couple of moves in reading ahead the possibility chain usually grows exponentially. While a human doesn't always have to read these trees out, a computer has to.

And why is that, exactly?

That's the point of newer approaches to programming a chess-playing computer: instead of adding memory and CPUs, instead we'll improve the predictive evaluation of board position.

Your brain isn't looking twelve moves ahead (as Deep Blue does), or even eight. Your brain is a neural network... and the brain of a Grand Master has been trained to 'sense' the general state of the board.

Re:Chess is so simple (3, Funny)

PacoSuarez (530275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236141)

I tried what you just said:

#include

int main(){
    do {
        std::cout move_that_provides_the_most_possible_ways_of_winni ng() std::endl;
    } while(!check_mate());
}

master_chess_program.cpp: In function 'int main()':
master_chess_program.cpp:5: error: 'move_that_provides_the_most_possible_ways_of_winn ing' was not declared in this scope
master_chess_program.cpp:6: error: 'check_mate' was not declared in this scope

Maybe I am missing some header files?

Re:Chess is so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236267)

The problem is combinatorial explosion. The fastest (turing based) computer available in the next 10 years would not reach the end of calculating 20 moves deep before the universe imploded/turned its lights off, thereby somewhat limiting the usefulness in real matches with 2 hour clocks.

Re:Chess is so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236447)

One needs a chess computer to look ahead many plys deep to be able to determine the best match continuation. The thing here is that the computer needs to be able to analyze a position to be able to determine whether it's better or worse. Just getting a score advantage doesn't always help, as the Polish Immortal [chessgames.com] shows (Java warning).

Re:Chess is so simple (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236645)

Well, or starters, there are more possible chess moves than there are atoms in the Universe (10^123 possible combiantion of moves). You would need to calculate probabilities for each of these individual moves. Even if you only consider "typical" moves there is simply too mcuh computationnal power required to crete such a program at this time.

Which isn't to say it won't be developped eventually, probably much like the program you describe (which more or less mirrors Deep Blue's). We're simply nowhere near completion yet.

Not quite accurate (2, Informative)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236001)

I seem to recall that Kasparov conceded the game. While still technically a win for Big Blue, is this not somewhat different than an actual checkmate? Was a checkmate imminent?

How blue can you get? (2, Informative)

amccaf1 (813772) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236085)

In case anyone is confused by the title/summary: Big Blue = IBM; Deep Blue = The Chess Playing Computer.

As a chess developer (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236131)

It was an interesting time. But it just upped the bets. Know it's who can be the first to beat a Go dan level player.

Computer chess is changing (2, Interesting)

paxmaniac (988091) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236181)

An interesting observation on the current crop of top PC chess programs. Rybka, the program that tops all the ranking lists, does so with a node count that is much lower. That is, Rybka looks at around a tenth of the number of positions per second compared to other programs. The reason is does so well, is that it has a very sophisticated evaluation algorithm for each position it examines. In some sense, it has better chess knowledge than other programs.

And this is the difference between Kasparov and Deep Blue (and other chess computers). The computer can analyse millions of positions per second. Kasparov might examine only a couple of positions per second, but he does so with far greater knowledge and insight - he recognizes when pieces are coordinated and mobile, when pawn structures are strong, when his king is safe.

In the year 2000 (2, Interesting)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236195)

One day far in the future, we will start up our chess programs and they will immediately announce "Mate in 326". A "good" move will be one that hastens the loss by as little as possible.

Fruit Flies! (2, Funny)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236203)

"Chess is the Drosophila of artificial intelligence. However, computer chess has developed much as genetics might have if the geneticists had concentrated their efforts starting in 1910 on breeding racing Drosophila. We would have some science, but mainly we would have very fast fruit flies." -John McCarthy

Scrabble (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236269)

I just returned home from the 2007 Scrabble Players Championship, which for this year was the largest North American tournament - substituting for the North American National Scrabble Championship which just returned to an even-year schedule from its brief flirtation with an annual schedule.

There are few in the Scrabble tournament field who think that humans have a chance against a well designed computer program. Sure, as the game contains a significant portion of chance, even an intermediate player like myself has occasionally beat the best computer programs. But given a statistically significant series of games, even the best players will lose to a computer program that was written in spare time by a bright MIT student running on a Pentium 2.

But this does not reduce the fun or competitiveness of the game as a Human endeavor. The value of competition is not in our superiority to computers, but rather that it pushes the limit of the Human mind. There is value in realizing that the human mind has finite limitations and knowing how to push it to them.

Scrabble requires players to memorize gigantic lists of words, index them in useful patterns, unscramble them under pressure of time, calculate probabilities, take risks.
Computers can be programmed to do almost all of the tasks a Scrabble player does, and much faster. But it just isn't all that amazing to watch a computer find a 14 letter bingo play that spans 7 disconnected tiles. Of course the computer found it. Watching a person find it is spectacular.

Chess may be a closer match for Human v Computer, but it still doesn't make the human competition any less spectacular.

So, can my laptop beat Kasparov yet? (2, Interesting)

cylcyl (144755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20236403)

I mean, with Moore's Law improving the computing power of PC's. PCs should be 32-64x more powerful than 10 yrs ago. How big is a machine that would have the equiv processing power of deep blue of 1997?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20236567)

Computers are better at calculations than humans. More at 11.
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