Magazine article AI Magazine

Modern Masters of an Ancient Game

Magazine article AI Magazine

Modern Masters of an Ancient Game

Article excerpt

The $100,000 Fredkin Prize for Computer Chess, created in 1980 to honor the first program to beat a reigning world chess champion, was awarded to the inventors of the Deep Blue chess machine Tuesday, July 29, at the annual meeting of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in Providence, Rhode Island.

Deep Blue beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov in the final game of a tied, six-game match last May 11. Kasparov had beaten the machine in an earlier match held in February 1996.

The Fredkin Prize was awarded under the auspices of AAAI; funds had been held in trust at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Fredkin Prize was originally established at Carnegie Mellon University 17 years ago by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science Professor Edward Fredkin to encourage continued research progress in computer chess. The prize was three-tiered. The first award of $5,000 was given to two scientists from Bell Laboratories who in 1981 developed the first chess machine to achieve master status.

Seven years later, the intermediate prize of $10,000 for the first chess machine to reach international master status was awarded in 1988 to five Carnegie Mellon graduate students who built Deep Thought, the precursor to Deep Blue, at the university. Soon thereafter, the team moved to IBM, where they have been ever since, working under wraps on Deep Blue.

The $100,000 third tier of the prize was awarded at AAAI-97 to this IBM team, who built the first computer chess machine that beat a world chess champion.

The members of the Deep Blue team were also honored for their achievement with the Allen Newell Research Excellence Medal, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University. …

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