10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Asimov Story on Computation

■ N 1958, American science fiction legend Isaac Asimov wrote a very short story called "The Feeling of Power." In it, lowly technician MyI ron Aub discovers that he is capable of duplicating the work of his computer by multiplying two numbers together on a piece of paper. Amazing! This miraculous discovery makes its way up the chain of command, where the generals and politicians are stunned by Aub's black magic. The top general is intrigued by the possibility that human calculations could g...
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Tablebases

t. In 1977, Thompson showed up at the World Computer Chess Championship th a new creation, a database that played the king and queen versus king and rook endgame perfectly. (KQKR is the abbreviation.) It wasn'1 an engine; there was no thinking required. Thompson had generated a database that essentially solved chess backwards, what we call retrograde analysis. It started from checkmate and worked its way back until it contained every single possible position with that material balance. Then i...
Folksonomies: asymmetrical thinking
Folksonomies: asymmetrical thinking
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Asymmetrical Psychology: Computers Use Knights Better Tha...

e. Chess players have the most trouble visualizing the moves of knights because their move is unlike anything else in the game, an L-shaped hop instead of a predictable straight line like the other pieces. Computers, of course, don't visualize anything at all, and so manage every piece with equal skill. I believe it was Bent Larsen, the first GM victim of a computer in tournament play, who stated that computers dropped a few hundred rating points if you eliminated their knights. This is an ex...
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Chess Concept: Running Out of Book

One of the problems with playing against computers is how quickly and how often they change. Grandmasters are used to preparing very deeply for our opponents, researching all of their latest games and looking for weaknesses. Mostly this preparation focuses on openings, the established sequences of moves that start the game and have exotic names like the Sicilian Dragon and the Queen's Indian Defense. We prepare new ideas in these openings, and look for strong new moves ("novelties") with whic...
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Computers are All Tactics and No Strategy

Chess computers don't have psychological faults, but they do have very distinct strengths and weaknesses, far more distinct than any equivalently strong human player would have. Today, they are so strong that most of their vulnerabilities have been steamrolled into irrelevancy by the sheer speed and depth of brute force search. They cannot play strategically, but they are too accurate tactically for a human to exploit those subtle weaknesses decisively. A tennis player with a 250-m.p.h. serve...
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02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Hawking Considers Computer Viruses Life

A living being like you or me usually has two elements: a set of instructions that tell the system how to keep going and how to reproduce itself, and a mechanism to carry out the instructions. In biology, these two parts are called genes and metabolism. But it is worth emphasising that there need be nothing biological about them. For example, a computer virus is a program that will make copies of itself in the memory of a computer, and will transfer itself to other computers. Thus it fits the...
Folksonomies: life
Folksonomies: life
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02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Chess is the Drosophila of Reasoning

Much as the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly became a model organism for geneticists, chess became a Drosophila of reasoning. In the late 19th century, Alfred Binet hoped that understanding why certain people excelled at chess would unlock secrets of human thought. Sixty years later, Alan Turing wondered if a chess-playing machine might illuminate, in the words of Norbert Wiener, “whether this sort of ability represents an essential difference between the potentialities of the machine and ...
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31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Homo Laborans and Homo Faber

Homo Laborans sails in the sea of “making things” where work is an end in itself, and is dictated by the needs imposed by technology. Subjected to technology or pleasantly attracted by it, we are ‘Animal laborans’, as Arendt would say, being enslaved to the tasks we are immersed in by the will of technology. Our doing is comparable to the manual work of past industrial revolutions. Think, for example, of the smartest machines, which can alert their human handlers when they will need m...
Folksonomies: two cultures
Folksonomies: two cultures
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Shannon's Learning Mouse Theseus

Theseus was propelled by a pair of magnets, one embedded in its hollow core, and one moving freely beneath the maze. The mouse would begin its course, bump into a wall, sense that it had hit an obstacle with its “whiskers,” activate the right relay to attempt a new path, and then repeat the process until it hit its goal, a metallic piece of cheese. The relays stored the directions of the right path in “memory”: once the mouse had successfully navigated the maze by trial and error, it ...
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