19 January 2010

Scientific American's Chess Neuroscience

After my surveys of Scientific American's Chess Puzzles and Computer Chess, there remains one area where chess is interesting to science: Chess Neuroscience. That's the phrase I used in the first post, but it might not be the most accurate term to describe the subject. Wikipedia says,

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. Nevertheless, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that involves other disciplines such as psychology, computer science, statistics, physics, philosophy, and medicine. [Wikipedia: Neuroscience]

With that in mind, here are the articles I found. All were published after the last of the SciAm pieces on the evolution of Computer Chess.

  • 2001: A Scorecard; How close are we to building HAL? • 'Even computer chess, in which seeming progress has been made, deceives. In 1997 IBM's Deep Blue beat then world champion Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue's victory, though, was more a triumph of raw processing power than a feat that heralded the onset of the age of the intelligent machine. Quantity had become quality, Kasparov said in describing Deep Blue's ability to analyze 200 million chess positions a second.'[January 2001]

  • Brain Study Shows Grandmaster Chess Players Think Differently Than Amateurs Do • 'Grandmaster chess players tap into different parts of their brains than amateurs do when plotting their next move, according to a new study.'[August 2001]

  • The Intimate Machine : Intelligent by Design • "When Deep Blue played chess against Kasparov, the machine was not looking at the board and was not lifting the pieces by itself," says Manuela Veloso, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. "The computer was extremely good at thinking, but not at actually perceiving the board and having an arm move the pieces. I feel that intelligence includes these abilities." [Scientific American Frontiers; October 2002]

  • The Expert Mind • 'How did he play so well, so quickly? And how far ahead could he calculate under such constraints? "I see only one move ahead," Capablanca is said to have answered, "but it is always the correct one."' [August 2006; preview only]

  • Men's Chess Superiority Explained • 'The topic of sex differences when it comes to matters of the mind is, needless to say, a divisive one. Those who wish to argue that women are just not as smart as men often point to chess as their proof. Although girls can obviously play, no woman's ever been world champion. But before looking for cultural or biological explanations for the disparity, scientists say you need to do the math.'[December 2008]

  • Tamir Druz: From Risking Check in Chess to Checking Risk in Energy Futures • 'The more he became involved in competitive chess, the more he began to wonder: "What made a great player great? What made one player better than the next?" He got to know many elite players, and his observations made him think that neither bookish intelligence nor the ability to memorize lots of information had much to do with anything.'[April 2009]

Starting with the quote attributed to Capablanca, there is much in 'The Expert Mind' worth comment. For starters, it uses the term Cognitive Science rather than Neuroscience.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of how information is represented and transformed in the brain. It consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and education.[1] It spans many levels of analysis, from low-level learning and decision mechanisms to high-level logic and planning; from neural circuitry to modular brain organization.
[Wikipedia: Cognitive Science]
As it is the only full length feature article in the list, I'll come back to it in a future post.

1 comment:

charlesgalofre said...

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