Computer science: then and now, Chess computing.

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ast week we told you about Alan Turing, one of history’s most notable computer scientists, who would be 100 as of last Saturday. We also gave a brief overview of how times are changing in the world of computer science, and why now’s the greatest time ever to get into the field.

This week, we’re going to show you, rather than just tell you, why that is. In the video below, you can watch Chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov play against Alan Turing’s chess algorithm, Turochamp. At the time, this was a revolutionary algorithm, using groundbreaking concepts to think two steps ahead of the game…


…and it can be beaten in just 16 moves. A big step for computer science
back then, but now we’re way ahead! 

We’re not saying the code isn’t impressive. In fact, Turing didn’t even code it on a computer. It was all coded by hand. (Read more about Turing’s chess algorithm.)

But today, we’ve had Deep Blue and other chess computers which are so intelligent they can beat chess grandmasters. Watch this short, 6 minute documentary on Deep Blue vs Kasparov—the same grandmaster in the video above.


Kasparov later accused IBM of ‘cheating’ by having humans make some
of the moves. That means IBM’s Deep Blue passed the Turing Test for AI.

And this is in just the world of chess. In the 90s. In the almost 20 years since Deep Blue, AI technology has grown into such a big field that MIT offers free online AI classes*, and it’s used in basically every videogame made today—as well as fields like diagnostic medicine.

Artificial intelligence, and therefore computer science, is one of the biggest and fastest growing fields around today. Fast growth means high demand for workers, and good pay. If designing artificial brains and teaching computers to think sounds interesting to you, check out that MIT class linked to above, and see if your high school offers anything like it—and pick a college based on their computer science program!

 

*The class is over, but the content is still up for people to use.

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