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This week in The History of AI at – Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov

This week in The History of AI at – IBM “Deep Blue” machine defeated Garry Kasparov, the then-reigning World Chess Champion, at chess, in a highly-publicised match on 11 May, 1997. This date was the conclusion of 2 matches, one starting the year before, 1996.

The face-off began on February 10, 1996, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kasparov actually won this match 4-2. A year later in New York City, they would actually rematch, where Deep Blue defeated Kasparov 3.5-2.5. This rematch hosted a newer version of Deep Blue, dubbed “Deeper Blue”, that was upgraded after the first match. Deep Blue would also play against two other chess grandmasters. This battle was the subject of documentaries and talked about long after the match ended. It was speculated that the match was rigged in favour of IBM to boost their stocks.

IBM “Deep Blue” had its origins in a project by students at Carnegie Mellon University under the name ChipTest. It was later rebranded to Deep Thought. After these students graduated from Carnegie Mellon, they were asked by IBM to continue their research at the company. In 1989, it was renamed to Deep Blue after a competition. The machine was also helped in development by chess grandmaster Joel Benjamin. Deep Blue was released in 1996. After its rematch with Kasparov in 1997, it was dismantled. Its racks are held at the National Museum of American History and the Computer History Museum.

The HAI initiative considers this an event in the History of AI due to its impact on public perceptions of Artificial Intelligence. Similar to IBM’s public stunt with Jeopardy, this was also a display of the progress that AI has come from its heydays and origins in the 1960s.