Computer History Museum Debuts New Exhibit, Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess

Mountain View, California  |  August 11, 2005

The Computer History Museum, the world's largest history museum dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the artifacts and stories of the information age, will celebrate a new physical and online exhibit, Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess, at a special lecture presentation, 7 p.m., Thursday, September 8, and at a public open house, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, September 10

According to John Toole, the Museum's executive director and CEO, this marks the first new exhibit since the institution relocated to its home at 1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View, Calif., two years ago.

"The topic of chess is a fascinating way for visitors of diverse backgrounds to learn about computing history. Chess resonates with the general public as a difficult problem to solve for people and machines alike. From this launching point, visitors can explore some important software concepts--abstract and traditionally challenging topics to explain," said Toole. "For the Museum, this exhibit is our 'opening move' since it serves as a prototype of others that we will develop throughout the next phases of our evolution."

This 1,000 square foot exhibit will follow a five-decade-long chronological plan, from the theoretical foundations developed by such computing pioneers as Alan Turing and Claude Shannon, to the development of PC chess software and the drama of IBM's chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue.

In addition, the institution has created an online version of Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess. "Not only will this online counterpart provide access to information made available in the physical exhibit, it will contain additional content and include access to original source materials, links to complementary organizations and allow visitors to share their computer chess stories," Toole said.

The story starts in the earliest days of computing and reflects general advances in computer hardware and software over this period. It also describes how the work on computer chess led to important software techniques still in use today.

Visitors will explore the multi-layered history of computer chess, listen to chess software pioneers, learn the basics of chess algorithms and experience the sights and sounds of the era through vintage footage. They will also learn about the development of chess-playing supercomputers including a special display featuring part of IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer alongside a multimedia presentation capturing the dramatic match between World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue. In addition, a freestanding computer learning station will allow visitors to explore software concepts, such as the basic ideas that lie beneath all chess software programs.

In addition to the public open house from 1-5 p.m., September 10, the Computer History Museum will host a special presentation in conjunction with the opening of Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess. Entitled Computer History Museum Presents: The History of Computer Chess: An AI Perspective, the 7 p.m., September 8 event will feature Murray Campbell, Deep Blue project member, International Business Machines (IBM); Edward Feigenbaum, a Stanford artificial intelligence researcher; David Levy, International Computer Games Association, and John McCarthy, professor, Stanford University. The evening presentation will be moderated by Monty Newborn, professor, McGill University and organizer, ACM Computer Chess Championships (1970-1991). This panel, comprising of seminal contributors to the solution of this challenge-including two of AI's leading pioneers-will discuss the origin and development of computer chess and what it tells us about ourselves and the machines we build.

Sponsors associated with Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess include ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), Ropes & Gray LLP, Target and Hilton Garden Inn-Mountain View.

About the Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, a public benefit organization, preserves and presents for posterity the artifacts and stories of the information age. The Museum is dedicated to exploring the social impact of computing and is home to the world's largest collection of computing-related items - from hardware (mainframes, PCs, handhelds, key integrated circuits), to software, to computer graphics systems, to Internet and networking - and contains many one-of-a-kind and rare objects such as the Cray-1 supercomputer, the Apple I, the WWII ENIGMA, the PalmPilot prototype, the 1969 Neiman Marcus (Honeywell) "Kitchen Computer" and the Minuteman I Guidance Computer. The collection also includes photos, films, videos, documents, and culturally-defining advertising and marketing materials. Currently in its first phase, the Museum brings computing history to life through its Speaker Series, seminars, oral histories and workshops. The Museum also offers tours of Visible Storage, where nearly 600 objects from the Collection are on display. Debuting September 2005 is a new exhibit, Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess. Future phases will feature full museum exhibits including a timeline of computing history, theme galleries, and much more. For more information, please visit or call 650.810.1010.

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(650) 810-1059


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