Posted by Jason Polak on 13. February 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: computer-science

Author: Feng-Hsiung Hsu
Title: Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer that Defeated the World Chess Champion

Photo by Jason Polak (A chess set I received when I was sixteen).

Photo by Jason Polak (A chess set I received when I was sixteen).

I love battles of skill and stories of seemingly impossible goals. That’s the stuff of Bruce Lee, the Riemann hypothesis, and getting a tenure-track position. And then there’s the computer chess problem: create a machine that can beat the world chess champion at tournament-time chess. This happened nearly twenty years ago, when Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in a six-game match. This is the story told in Behind Deep Blue by Feng-Hsiung Hsu.

Today in 2016, far more advanced chess programs like Stockfish running on a laptop can easily vanquish world-class human players. Hsu’s book however, has lost none of its intrigue or charm. Of course, there are several books written about Deep Blue, many of them chess analyses. Behind Deep Blue however is not a chess book. After all, if it were I wouldn’t be reviewing it on a mathematics blog. Instead, Behind Deep Blue is a story about a bunch of guys solving a computer science and hardware engineering problem.
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