"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Alan Turing Chess Program

I was told a really interesting story toward the end of last week - not sure if you guys are aware of it. Apparently in 1948-50 Turing wrote the first ever computer chess program, even though there weren't any computers in existence that could actually run it. Lacking a computer, Turing had to run the program manually, logically following the procedural steps to play chess (and taking about half an hour to make each move).

The coolest thing of all is the name he gave to his program without a computer... "Turbo Champ."

3 comments:

Tom said...

Amazing, though after a few Google searches, it's clear that the story is not as well known as one would have thought. There is a description of it here and even the moves from a game that it played. Sadly, there is no mention of "turbo chess" anywhere, other than a programme written in Turbo Prolog in the 1980s

john said...

"TurboChamp" - cached google linnk here

Tom said...

Interesting that Turing himself was a said to be a poor chess player and that his machine would probably have beaten him. What an amazing visionary that man was.