Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Fruit fly races

Author: Steven Edwards

Date: 15:29:07 04/06/05


Q. What about chess?

A. Alexander Kronrod, a Russian AI researcher, said ``Chess is the  Drosophila
of AI.'' He was making an analogy with geneticists'  use of that fruit fly to
study inheritance. Playing chess requires  certain intellectual mechanisms and
not others. Chess programs now  play at grandmaster level, but they do it with
limited intellectual  mechanisms compared to those used by a human chess player,
 substituting large amounts of computation for understanding. Once we
understand these mechanisms better, we can build human-level chess  programs
that do far less computation than do present programs.

Unfortunately, the competitive and commercial aspects of making  computers play
chess have taken precedence over using chess as a  scientific domain. It is as
if the geneticists after 1910 had  organized fruit fly races and concentrated
their efforts on  breeding fruit flies that could win these races.


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