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Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer That Defeated the World Chess Champion
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Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer That Defeated the World Chess Champion

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  14 reviews
On May 11, 1997, as millions worldwide watched a stunning victory unfold on television, a machine shocked the chess world by defeating the defending world champion, Garry Kasparov. Written by the man who started the adventure, Behind Deep Blue reveals the inside story of what happened behind the scenes at the two historic Deep Blue vs. Kasparov matches. This is also the ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2002 by Princeton University Press (first published 2002)
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If this book had been written forty years earlier, it would have been a typical piece of hard science-fiction. In fact, there is an SF short story by Fritz Leiber, The Sixty-Four Square Madhouse, which is quite similar. Like everyone else, I knew the bare bones of the real life version. A group of smart computer scientists at IBM built an extremely strong chess computer called Deep Blue, with the express aim of beating World Champion Garry Kasparov in a match. They played two matches, each of ...more
Wow. I think Hofstadter's thoughts (from NYT, 1996) are so way, way off on this:

Several cognitive scientists said Deep Blue's victory in the opening game of the recent match told more about chess than about intelligence.

"It was a watershed event, but it doesn't have to do with computers becoming intelligent," said Douglas Hofstadter, a professor of computer science at Indiana University and author of several books about human intelligence, including "Godel, Escher, Bach," which won a Pulitzer
Rodolfo Gutierrez
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond Deep Blue is an interesting book with a first-hand look at the trials and tribulations of Deep Blue. The main appeal of this book is its author, Feng-Hsiung Hsu, who was of the lead developers of the Deep Blue computer. Hsu tells of Deep Blue's genesis as the computer Deep Thought, and the long road to beating the world chess champion. The author maintains an air of humor that is a breath of fresh air next to the sometimes stifling chess lingo. However, the author is a self-admitted ...more
Dennis Littrell
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly engaging and candid account

Taiwanese-born Feng-Hsiung Hsu has written a most engaging and readable account of how Deep Blue came to be, and how it defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in perhaps the greatest chess match of all time. I say "perhaps" because there are many who still consider the 1972 encounter at Reykjavik, Iceland between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky to be the greatest match ever. One thing both matches had in common, in addition to a worldwide audience,
Nick Black
Oct 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nick by: Manny Rayner
Amazon third party, 2009-10-08. Suffers from Smoot's Disease (see: Wrinkles in Time), but has its strong moments.
Cormac Zoso
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: computer geeks, chess fanatics
Recommended to Cormac by: online chess friends
While this is an interesting book on the 'match of the century' and the development of the Deep Blue computer, it doesn't really address the problems with the match itself. There is a documentary, "Game Over - Kasparov and the Machine", that discusses the "questionable gamesmanship" of the IBM team (to put it nicely), namely, having approximately a dozen grandmasters in attendance in the locked and secured computer room where the real work of the computer hardware was happening. The team member ...more
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engineering
Feng-hsiung Hsu was born in 1959 in Taiwan. After graduating from National Taiwan University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, he served in the ROC Army for two years, and then was sent to the United States for graduate studies at Carnegie-Mellon University. For his thesis, Hsu was going to design a chip for improved printing of Chinese characters by laser printers; however, he went to a seminar about a specialized 64-chip circuit board for a chess-playing computer.and was approached by ...more
This is the story of how humans built a machine that could outthink humans, at least in a narrow field.

The author was one of the creators of Deep Blue, the chess machine that beat World Champion Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997. This book is the story of how the machine came to be.

One of the themes of the book is the struggle between man in his own abilities and man as tool maker. The insecurity of man when he considers his tools is evident in a lot of literature -- particularly science
Zoombini Pedicini
Fantastic story about the underlying history culminating in the first machine able to defeat the world champion Gary Kasparov in tournament-style chess. Although I have some familiarity with computer science and chess, neither is required to enjoy this book. I also had no idea that Joel Benjamin assisted the IBM team with the project. Lots of details, and really interesting to note that the principal architect 許峰雄 is Taiwanese.
Dean Tambling
Hsu isn't exactly a gifted wordsmith, and it would be nice to hear a little more about his ethos as a toolmaker and his thoughts on what was happening, and a little less about each and every single move from a particular chess game, but this remains a fascinating, enjoyably unvarnished look at the day-to-day machinations of pushing technology forward.
Apr 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: CMU alums
The author is much too self-congratulatory for my taste, and the creation of a world-class chess-playing computer is less interesting than one might think. I finished the book with a feeling of "so what?".
Makes you think that you migth actually undertsand how geniuses create a computer strong enough to beat the Chess World Champion. I liked reading about the battle of egos most of all.
F. John
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was very well-written. I was introduced to the world of computer chess. Gary Kasparov behaved like a bad sport in the end. I think he should have lost with some class.
Just started reading it -- looks interesting.
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