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Blondie24: Playing at the Edge of AI

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Blondie24 tells the story of a computer that taught itself to play checkers far better than its creators ever could by using a program that emulated the basic principles of Darwinian evolution--random variation and natural selection-- to discover on its own how to excel at the game. Unlike Deep Blue, the celebrated chess machine that beat Garry Kasparov, the former world c ...more
Paperback, 406 pages
Published September 26th 2001 by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (first published January 1st 2001)
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Mar 13, 2011 added it
Excellent overview of a new paradigm: An excellent laymans' guide to a 'new' paradigm - I've bought two copies already (one given away).

Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov but only after a multi-year effort involving special hardware and was a program that was specifically designed to play chess.

Blondie24 'evolved itself' using non-special hardware (Pentium 400MHz) and in a matter of months beats 99% of all human players - WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT DRAUGHTS.

Part 1 of the book is an overview of the

Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would like to rate this book between 3 and 4 stars. It didn't blow me away, but the underlying ideas are very interesting and well presented. The book is presented as a story [no spoilers].

The main point he makes about AI in computer learning is important and profound. We have computers like Deep Blue to play chess, but these computers haven't actually learned anything. They are hand fed the human knowledge. Deep Blue can play chess but out of the box would fall flat on it's face in a game of
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Blondie24 is informative, humorous, and gripping. Fogel begins by covering the history of artificial intelligence both as it currently stands and as Hollywood represents it, showing where Hollywood's vision is slightly inaccurate or too far out of reach. He holds HAL (IBM - 1) from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey as the ideal artificial intelligence because it is a learning machine that can think and feel for itself, but he says HAL is currently impossible. What we can do is create a learning ma ...more
Arun Rajappa
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
AI, board games, psychology, evolution, natural history and scrappy product building - a good read! One of the few build I've read and enjoyed the appendix as much as the main book! ...more
Ed Smiley
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
What is thinking? What is learning?

The story of a project with the aim of developing a learning artificial intellegence. Blondie24 is a program with a neural net and an evolutionary algorithm, which without much guidance learned to play checkers and crack a rating of 2000.

It never reached the high performance of programs that have been explicitly programmed with rules, but the way it reached its high function was extraordinary.

A set of weights were assigned to programs on a random basis, and the
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
David Fogel is a son of Lawrence Fogel, a pioneer of evolutionary computation. In 1993 father and son founded a company that applies evolutionary methods to various problems such as detecting cancer in mammograms, a "dual-use" project funded by the US DoD. In the late 1990s Fogel and a coworker decided to try to evolve a program that plays a strategy game: they deemed chess too complicated, but checkers just right. There was a famous checkers-playing program in the late 1950s which played agains ...more
Mike S
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone new to AI. Exciting, fast paced, fun, clearly written, an all around good read.
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