News Releases
Public Relations Office, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
(412)268-3830 . (412)268-5016 (fax)

25 July 1997

The $100,000 Fredkin Prize for Computer Chess To Be Awarded To Deep Blue's Inventors at AAAI '97

PITTSBURGH--The $100,000 Fredkin Prize for Computer Chess, created in 1980 to honor the first program to beat a reigning world chess champion, will be awarded to the inventors of the Deep Blue chess machine Tuesday, July 29, at the annual meeting of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in Providence, R.I.

Deep Blue beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov in the final game of a tied, six-game match last May 11. Kasparov had beaten the machine in an earlier match held in February 1996.

The Fredkin Prize is being awarded under the auspices of AAAI. The funds have been held in trust at Carnegie Mellon University.

The prize was established at Carnegie Mellon 17 years ago by Computer Science Professor Edward Fredkin to encourage research in computer chess. A prize of $5,000 was awarded to the first chess program to attain a Master's rating in 1983. A prize of $10,000 was awarded to the system that achieved Grandmaster status in 1988.

Feng H. Hsu, Murray Campbell and A. Joseph Hoane, Jr. will split the final, $100,000 award at a special chess pioneer recognition event that will take place from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Westin Hotel in Providence. Five other research teams that made groundbreaking technological contributions to the development of computer chess also will be honored. The session will include presentations explaining the contributions of each of these systems to the chess-playing technology.

Each team member will receive an Allen Newell Medal for Research Excellence. The Newell Medal was created to honor the late Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Allen Newell who, along with Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, co-founded the field of artificial intelligence and authored the NSS chess program in 1958.

The teams being honored at AAAI '97:

Mac Hack 6, developed by Richard Greenblatt at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the first computer program to play in a human chess tournament. It was the first program to play and win in a tournament game in 1967.

The Northwestern University computer chess program, developed by David Slate and Larry Atkin from the 1960s to the early '80s, won several computer chess championships during the 1970s, including the computer world championship in 1977.

Belle, developed by Ken Thompson and Joe Condon at Bell Labs, was the first chess program to obtain the United States Chess Federation Master title in 1983. It was awarded the first Fredkin Prize of $5,000 for this achievement.

Hitech, developed at Carnegie Mellon by Hans Berliner, Carl Ebeling, Murray Campbell and Gordon Goetsch, was the first system to achieve a Senior Master~s level of performance in 1988.

Deep Thought, developed at Carnegie Mellon by Thomas Anantharaman, Murray Campbell, Feng Hsu, Andreas Nowatzyk and Mike Brown, was the first system to play at the Grandmaster level. Deep Thought was awarded the $10,000 Fredkin Intermediate Prize for this achievement in 1988.

Deep Blue, a parallel supercomputer that processes an average of 200 million chess positions per second, is the first chess machine to draw and beat a world chess champion in a regulation game, and the first chess machine to beat the world champion in a regulation match.

"There has never been any doubt in my mind that a computer would ultimately beat a reigning world chess champion," said Fredkin. "The question has always been when."

"Like many other grand challenge problems in AI that have been with us for a long time, chess has had a continuous and exciting history," said Raj Reddy, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon and session chairman of the chess event. "It's wonderful to have this opportunity to honor these pioneers. They engineered chess programs that outclassed all other systems of their time. It is very appropriate that AAAI honor them on this historic occasion."

Return to: SCS News Releases
School of Computer Science homepage

This page maintained by