Feeds

Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer

Silicon vs. the leetle grey cells

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Useless computer engineer Barbie sacked after three-way fscking
Tale of two lads and wannabe game dev makes for great management material
Microsoft to bring back beloved 1990s super-hit BATTLETOADS!?*
* Or maybe not. It is just a trademark filing, after all
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.