Feeds

Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer

Silicon vs. the leetle grey cells

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

The credibility of the human race is on the line, as a new six match man vs. machine chess tournament is announced in London. From 21-26 June, Hydra, the most powerful chess-playing computer ever built, will take on the rather puny-by-comparison UK chess Grandmaster, Michael Adams at the Wembley Centre. A purse of £80,000 is up for grabs, but more than that: the reputation of the species is on the line.

Hydra is really quite whizzy, for a piece of computer kit. It can analyse up to 200 million chess moves per second, and plan 18 to 40 moves ahead, that is six more than IBM's Deep Blue, for those who like to keep track of these thing. The machine's computational power can also be turned to DNA or fingerprint matching (one second to match a finger print in a database of 60 million), code breaking (can calculate every prime number between one and a sexdicillion in just five minutes), space travel and complex system calculations.

By contrast, Michael Adams can calculate 1.4 chess moves per second, and has won 62.5 per cent of his professional games since 1979. He can also make tea, boil an egg and be moved by poetry. All of these activities are though to be beyond Hydra's grasp.

Adams, who first won the British Championships on his debut in 1989, aged just 17, is talking a good fight: "This is an awesome challenge," he says. "I have played nearly 2,000 games in international chess tournaments, but I've never faced an opponent quite like this. I'm really looking forward to matching wits with the ultimate opponent to prove that nothing can match the power of human creativity."

But Hydra's management is not looking scared. After all the machine has never lost to a human opponent. Faced with Adam's big talk, Muhammad Nasir Ali, Hydra's chief technology officer, sneered: "We're confident even Mr. Adams will have trouble landing a blow against our silicon champion." ®

Related stories

IBM rediscovers ancient plan for renting powerful computers
Where's my robotic maid?
Boffins crack ancient board game with 36 server cluster

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.