Deep Blue Wins
Deep Blue

New York, NY, Sunday, May 11, 1997: In a stunning display of humanity's ability to extend its reach through making new tools, IBM's Deep Blue chess playing computer won a decisive final game in an international match with world chess champion Garry Kasparov. This is the first time a computer has ever beat a world chess champion in an international match. After the match, Deep Blue had nothing to say, but Kasparov demonstrated far more flexibility than the single-minded Deep Blue by immediately launching into an extended period of whining.

Deep Blue, otherwise known as an IBM RS/6000/SP, is a UNIX-based multi-processor scientific computer normally used for large-scale problem solving. Each of the 256 processors is a derivative of IBM's Power series. The best known derivatives of the Power series are the PowerPC processors used in MacOS personal computers from Apple, Power Computing, Motorola, SuperMac, and a host of other computers.

While IBM made some effort to take advantage of the match (even setting up a special Web site, http://www.chess.ibm.com/), they also displayed an unerring ability to miss the obvious. Video clips on the Web site were not in industry-standard QuickTime format, or even some of the less popular formats, but in an off-the-wall format requiring a special driver -- that doesn't work on most machines. IBM's partnerships with other users of their RISC processors (such as Apple, Motorola, Power Computing et. al.) also are not mentioned, leaving the mistaken impression that users of these machines are large corporations with a fanatical, and expensive, interest in chess.


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lic Monday, May 12, 1997