Friday, December 8, 2006

Sad fact: machines are superior

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THROUGH movies such as the highly successful Terminator series, Independence Day, I Robot and other man vs. machine films, man has always been fascinated by the possibility of machines having artificial intelligence.

Programmers have selected chess as the first step towards intelligent machines because of the enormous amount of calculation involved and the popularity of the games as programs can be sold at a big profit to a very large market.

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Just as I predicted, Deep Fritz 10 won over current world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia by a score of 4-2 last November 25- December 5th in the National Art Gallery in Bonn, Germany. The computer won two games including the last in the six-game match. The sponsor was RAG AG, one of Europe`s largest energy companies. Prize fund was one million euros with Kramnik guaranteed half of that and the full amount if he wins.

This is the fourth time that Deep Fritz has played one-on-one against a human as previously it played against Robert Hubner, Gary Kasparov and Kramnik and all games were drawn.

In this match Kramnik faced a new and better version. According to chessbase, “In 2002 the Bahrain version of Deep Fritz (against Kramnik) was able to calculate “just” 2.7 million positions per second…. Deep Fritz 10 now runs at eight million positions per second, which allows the program to search to a depth of 17 to 18 ply in the middlegame…This means that Fritz is looking nine full moves ahead for both sides.”

In Bahrain, Kramnik took an early lead 3-1 but the computer equalized in the end and the series ended a 4-4 draw. Kramnik claimed fatigue in the second half of the match.

The Man vs Machine mania all started with a big splash in 1989 when Garry Kasparov was paired against a program named Deep Thought. Deep Thought was able to calculate ¾ million positions per second per dual-processor. In comparison, the number given for Garry was three positions per second.”

Kasparov easily won the match and the pride of the human race by a score of 2-0 and later commented “I think the computer needs to be taught something – how to resign!"

In 1994 Intel sponsored a round robin blitz tournament featuring 17 GMs and a computer running Fritz 3, played in Munich, Germany. The hardware was an Olivetti with the latest Intel processor, a Pentium 90 MHz. Fritz beat GMs Chernin, Anand, Cvitan, Gelfand, Wojtkiewicz, Hjartarson, Kasparov, Kramnik and Short to finish equal first with Kasparov. In the playoff Kasparov demolished the machine 4:1.

In 1995 Kasparov played 2 matches against computers, the first against Genius, which he beat 1.5-0.5 in Cologne and the second in London vs. Fritz 4, also by a score of 1.5-0.5.

In 1996, Kasparov again defeated a new program named Deep Blue 4-2 and later commented, “Although I did see some signs of intelligence, it's a weird kind, an inefficient, inflexible kind that makes me think I have a few years left.”

His prophecy turned out to be wrong a year later when he lost the rematch to Deep Blue 3.5-2.5. “What we have is the world's best chess player vs. Garry Kasparov.”– IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, when asked why the match got so much attention. IBM also dismissed any rematches, although this was one of the highly publicized events of the year and IBM got a lot of mileage.

So, what we have right now is a sad but true fact that the Machine is now superior to Man in a battle that requires a high amount
of intelligence and memory.

Cepca News. Mandy Baria has announced that the chess Grand Finals of the club will be this Sunday Dec. 10 at Stella Maris starting at 1pm. There will also be a side event among non-qualifiers.

Emmanuel “Mat” Matuco, together with the other officers, will be inducted 13th president of the Cebu Executives and
Professionals Chess Association Inc. To be inducted also are the new members of the club in 2006. Inducting officer is Vice Mayor Michael Rama, a known chess buff.

The Club`s Christmas party follows after the tournament.

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