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February 15, 2011: ACM's Chess Challenges Set the Foundation for IBM's "Watson" vs. Jeopardy! Champions

Today's Topic: ACM's Chess Challenges Set the Foundation for IBM's "Watson" vs. Jeopardy! Champions
Tuesday, February 15, 2011


As IBM's "Watson" computer faces off against human champions renowned for their achievements on Jeopardy!, we at ACM are reminded of the ACM Chess Challenge series. Spanning 1970 - 1994, the Chess Challenge inspired the greatest minds in computer science to push the limits of technology.

Monty Newborn, former chair of the ACM Computer Chess Committee, led the ACM Chess Challenge series from 1970 to 1994. He said they set out to have some fun and push the limits of the technology that existed at the time. By 1996, computer technology had become so advanced that Newborn recruited world chess champion Garry Kasparov for the first-ever human-computer face-off, still known as the ACM Chess Challenge.

As Newborn, currently Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at McGill University, noted, "The Jeopardy! match demonstrates that there are seemingly no restrictions on what computers can do today. The history of computing has spanned just 60 years, and already we may be about to witness computers matching or even eclipsing human intelligence."

See a history of ACM's Chess Challenges.

Weigh in on who you think the winner will be on ACM's Facebook page poll.