Feeds

Silicon beats carbon in chess battle

Ouch

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

In the battle of man vs. machine, man has been utterly trounced. In fact, supercomputer Hydra's five triumphs out of six over human grandmaster Michael Adams dwarfs even the All Blacks' recent demolition of the British Lions. Adams managed to squeeze a draw in the second bout, salvaging some pride.

Hydra was well equipped for the battle, which concluded last week. With its many, many pieces of well-deployed silicon, it can analyse up to 200 million chess moves per second, and plan its game 18 to 40 moves ahead. As we reported earlier, that is six more moves than IBM's Deep Blue was capable of.

The result is being touted as a demonstration of just how far supercomputers have come in the last decade. In 1996 Garry Kasparov actually beat Deep Blue, although the supercomputer got its own back a year later.

Computers might have the edge over people when it comes to chess, but that doesn't mean they actually understand the game. After each move in chess, there are approximately 30 legal moves that could be made next. This is known as having a branching factor of 30. A sufficiently fast computer can, with the help of some decent software that prunes the dead ends, merely brute force its way through enough moves to calculate the one most likely to win it the match.

Computers have yet to master the game of Go, a much trickier proposition with its branching factor of 250. Brute force is no good here, because the number of moves gets really big, really fast. Researchers at Microsoft's labs in Cambridge have made some improvements to computer Go, using Bayesian ranking to calculate probable good moves. But the researchers concede that even the best programs are pretty easily dispatched by good human players. ®

Related stories

Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer
Boffins crack ancient board game with 36 server cluster
Greek govt bans all computer games

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.