A Nobel Turing Trio

  • Jonathan Schaeffer


Winning the Computer Olympiad was wonderful, but there was no chance to rest on our laurels. September 1989 was to be a busy time. At the end of that month I was to drive over 2,500 miles to Pittsburgh to spend three months visiting Carnegie Mellon University as part of my sabbatical. Before that, however, I journeyed to the former Yugoslavia to work with Jaap van den Herik as tournament directors for the 1989 World Microcomputer Chess Championship. Again, it felt strange not to be participating in a chess tournament. I came back for a few days and then went off to visit the town of Jasper, in the Rocky Mountains, for a quick holiday with Steph.


Computer Game Checker Program Complex Instruction World Champion Computer Chess 
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  1. 1.
    Computer storage is counted in terms of bytes. Each byte contains eight bits. A bit is just a single yes/no piece of information. RAM stands for random-access memory, meaning that the computer is capable of reading and writing to any piece of the memory. Another type of memory one is likely to encounter in the computer literature is ROM— read-only memory.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E-mail sent on September 10, 1989.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hans Berliner, “Backgammon Computer Program Beats World Champion,” Artificial Intelligence, 14(1980): pp. 205–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Danny Kopec, “Advances in Man-Machine Play,” Computers, Chess, and Cognition, pp. 9–32 (see Further Reading). Deep Thought’s successor, Deep Blue, gave Kasparov a tougher fight in their February 1996 match, scoring a win and two draws in six games against the world champion.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    RISC stands for reduced instruction set computer. Until this idea came around, the heart of the computer, the central processing unit (CPU), was an intricate design permitting the computer to execute many complex instructions. These machines were often called CISC (complex instruction set computers). RISC advocates a simple CPU, allowing only a few basic instructions. Complex instructions can be built from a series of simpler ones. Simplifying the design of the CPU makes it considerably easier to build a fast one.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ken Thompson, “Computer Chess Strength,” Advances in Computer Chess 3, M.R.B. Clarke (ed.), 1982, pp. 55–56.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    I dare not reveal the trick, since professional programmers will laugh at the extremes that I went to for the sake of speed at the expense of program readability and maintainability.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Herbert A. Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT Press, 1969 (but many times reprinted).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Schaeffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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