Deep Blue Chess Computer

By Bill Wall


In 1985, Carnegie Mellon doctoral student Feng-hsiung Hsu
and Thomas Anantharamen developed a chess-playing computer called "Chiptest."
It could search 50,000 moves per second and was controlled by a
SUN 3/160 workstation. By 1987 Chiptest (Chiptest-M) was examining 500,000
chess positions per second. In 1988 Chiptest evolved into
Deep Thought 0.01, running on a SUN 4 workstation. It then
evolved into Deep Thought 0.02 and examing 720,000 chess positions
per second. The new program included two customized VLSI chess
processors. Its USCF rating in 1988 was 2551. In May, 1989 Deep
Thought won its first World Computer Chess Championship with a
perfect 5-0 score.

In late 1989 Hsu joined
IBM Research, along with his classmate Murray Campbell. They were
to explore how to use parallel processing to solve complex computing
problems. Chiptest/Deep Thought evolved into Deep Blue when ported
to an RS/6000 SP super computer.

The Deep Thought/Deep Blue team consisted of Hsu, Campbell, Joe Hoane, Jerry
Brody, and C.J. Tan. The project moved to the Thomas J. Watson
Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York.

IBM's Deep Thought played Garry Kasparov in 1990 in a 2-game
match in New York. Kasparov easily defeated the computer.

By 1991 Deep Thought emerged into Deep Thought II running on
an IBM/6000 computer. It was examing 7 million chess positions
per second. In February, 1993 Deep Thought was renamed to Deep Blue.

Deep Blue is a massively parallel, 32-node RISC System
RS/6000 SP computer system built
by IBM. It is a distributed memory multinode, large scale,
high performance computing server. It was designed to play chess
at the grandmaster level. The RS/6000 was introduced in 1993. There
have been 9000 RS/6000 machines built by IBM in Armouk, New York.
Deep Blue weighs 1.4 tons. Deep Blue utilizes the Power Two
Super Chip processors (P2SC). Each of its 32 nodes employs
a single microchannel card containing 8 dedicated Very Large
Scale Intergrated (VLSI) chess processors, for a total of 256
processors working in tandem. Deep Blue's programming code
in written in C and runs under the AIX UNIX operating system.
IBM spent 5 years and millions of dollars building Deep Blue.

Deep Blue does not use any artificial intelligence. There is
no formula for chess intuition. Deep Blue relies on computational
power and a search and evaluation function.

Deep Blue is the first computer to attain celebrity status and
ended up on the cover of Newsweek ("The Brains Last Stand").
Deep Blue is recognized by over 50% of all Americans.

Deep Blue first won fame by playing Garry Kasparov in Feb, 1996. Deep
Blue lost that time, but an improved model was ready for him in 1997.
The improved version had twice the processor speed and the 1996 version.
In the 1996 match, Deep Blue was able to win game 1. For the first
time under tournament conditions, the world chess champion had lost
to a computer. Kasparov eventually won 3 games and drew 2 games
to win the match.

In May, 1997 Deep Blue (affectionately called Deeper Blue)
played world chess champion Garry Kasparov and won
the match. Deep Blue won 2 games, lost 1 game, and drew 3 games to
take the match in 6 games. The match was observed by 5 million
people over the Internet. The games were played on the 35th
floor of the Equitable Center in downtown Manhattan.

Deep Blue was generating up to
200 million positions per second and evaluating the "goodness"
of each chess position. It can calculate 200 billion moves in
three minutes, the time allotted for each move. A grandmaster
may be able to calculate 500 moves in three minutes.
Deep Blue won its match on May 11, 1997. US Champion Joel
Benjamin was a team consultant for Deep Blue.

The 1997 match between Deep Blue and Kasparov generated $500
million of free publicity for IBM. Its stock went up over
$10 to reach a new high for the company.

In July, 2000 Deep Blue was featured on the animated television series
Futurama on the Fox network. Deep Blue was charged with the task
of protecting the Earth's time-space continuum, with help from
Al Gore and Star Trek's Lt. Uhura.

Deep Blue currently resides at IBM's Watson Research Center in
Yorktown, NY. It is used as a benchmark for more powerful computers,
such as ASCII White. ASCII White is 1,000 times more powerful
than Deep Blue and is used to simulate nuclear testing for
the Department of Energy.


This article was printed by permission of Bill Wall. Check out Bille chess site



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