• United States

Server running chess program makes the right moves

Feb 18, 20032 mins

* Four-way Intel server plays former world chess champion to a draw

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and the Deep Junior computer played to a draw last week in a $1 million International Chess Federation match.

Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer in 1997. This time, Kasparov battled a chess program called Deep Junior.

The Deep Junior computer had been characterized in other reports as a supercomputer. According to Shay Bushinsky, one of the authors’ of the Deep Junior software, though, the so-called supercomputer had just four 1.9-GHz Xeon MP processors and 4G bytes of memory.

It was an IBM eServer x360 supplied by Canvas Systems, an integrator of IT systems. It ran Windows 2000 Advanced Server. The x360 is a 3U-high rack-mount server. The server was backed up by two IBM eServer x440 servers.

“That’s not a supercomputer,” says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. “That’s an industry-standard computer. Amazing.”

The processing power of Intel boxes has increased dramatically in the past five years. The system could figure 3 million chess moves per second, compared to Deep Blue’s 200 million moves per second. Deep Blue was a massively parallel, 32-node RS/6000 SP-based computer system, weighing 1.4 tons and using the Power Two Super Chip (P2SC) processor. Deep Blue operated 100 times as fast as Deep Junior, Bushinsky says.

Deep Junior is able to think more like a human does than Deep Blue, its Israel-based authors Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky say. The software program Deep Junior is available for download from a number of sites including Amazon.