Alvin M. Despain

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Alvin M. Despain [1]

Alvin M. Despain,
an American electrical engineer, and co-founder and CTO of Acorn Technologies until his retirement in 2008 [2]. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Utah in 1966, and has been a professor at University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Utah State University, University of Utah, and University of Southern California, where he is professor emeritus since 2001. His research interests include computer architecture, multiprocessor systems, logic programming, quantum computation and design automation .

Computer Chess

Already in the 70s, Despain designed a chess machine as described by Ozalp Babaoglu in his Master's thesis [3], but never obtained funding for full construction [4]. In 1990, along with James Testa, Despain co-authored on the Berkeley Chess Microprocessor (BCM) [5] [6]. The BCM was apparently used in Testa's chess entity Zerker, a promising newcomer at ACM 1990 as it reported 7,000,000 moves per second [7], roughly three times faster than Deep Thought at that time, but damage to the machine during shipment forced its withdrawal [8] [9], and it seems the project was later abandoned.

Selected Publications


1970 ...

1990 ...

1995 ...

External Links


  1. Chi-Ying Tsui, Massoud Pedram, Alvin M. Despain (1998). Low-power state assignment targeting two- and multilevel logic implementations. IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, Vol. 17, No 12
  2. Acorn Technologies - Company
  3. Ozalp Babaoglu (1977). Hardware implementation of the legal move generation and relative ordering functions for the game of chess. Master's thesis, University of California, Berkeley
  4. Joe Condon, Ken Thompson (1982). Belle Chess Hardware. Advances in Computer Chess 3, Reprinted (1988) in Computer Chess Compendium
  5. James Testa, Alvin M. Despain (1990). A CMOS VLSI chess microprocessor. University of California, Berkeley, IEEE Custom Integrated Circuit Conference
  6. Marc Boulé (2002). An FPGA Move Generator for the Game of Chess. Masters thesis, McGill University, supervisor: Zeljko Zilic, co-supervisor: Monty Newborn
  7. The 21st Annual ACM North American Computer Chess Championship from The Computer History Museum, pdf
  8. Quick moves claim computer-chess title - Free Online Library, November 24, 1990
  9. Monty Newborn, Danny Kopec (1991). The 21st ACM North American Computer Chess Championship. Communications of the ACM, Vol. 34, No. 11
  10. dblp: Alvin M. Despain
  11. Fast Fourier transform from Wikipedia

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