Monday, July 31, 2006

Computer Chess -- Yesterday's Challenge

It may surprise you to learn that it's more difficult for a computer to play poker, perhaps the world's most popular card game, than chess, the pastime of deep thinkers.

Unlike chess, poker deals with tricky matters such as uncertainty, probability, guesswork and deception - human wiles that a chess-playing robot, such as the one that beat world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, doesn't need to consider.

As a result, computer experts say, poker is more like real life - with all its subtleties and complications - than chess is, with its fixed rules and vast but finite possibilities.

"Chess might be a better test of raw computer power," said Christian Lebiere, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. But computer poker programs "are indeed more like human problem-solving."
Read "Computers find poker, like real life, a tougher challenge than chess" at The Mercury News.

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