George Baylor

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George W. Baylor,
a retired professor of psychology from University of Montreal. He is author of a number of papers on dreams [1], and is a consulting editor for the ASD journal, Dreaming [2] . He has done clinical training in psychosynthesis and now offer individual dream intensives at the Mountain Road Retreat in the Eastern Townships of Québec [3]. George Baylor was a student and friend of Herbert Simon. As chess player and student at Carnegie Mellon University, Baylor was hired by Simon, to work on his and Newell's chess machines. He wrote a mating combinations program, dubbed Mater, which was subject of his Masters thesis, and he later focused on cognitive psychology.


see main article Mater

Abstract from A chess mating combinations program [4]:

The program reported here is not a complete chess player; it does not play games. Rather, it is a chess analyst limited to  searching for checkmating combinations in positions containing tactical possibilities. A combination in chess is a series of forcing moves with sacrifice that ends with an objective advantage for the active side. A checkmating combination, then, is a combination in which that objective advantage is checkmate. Thus the program described here - dubbed MATER - given a position, proceeds by generating that class of forcing moves that put the enemy King in check or threaten mate in one move, and then by analyzing first those moves that appear most promising. 

Remembrance of Herbert A. Simon

George W. Baylor on Herbert A. Simon [5] :

Herb Simon has been such a towering influence and determining force in my life that it is hard to imagine what my life would have been like without him. It was in 1959-60, as a sophomore at Carnegie Institute of Technology, that I first met "Dr. Simon." I mainly played chess, but he and Allen Newell, were programming computers to play chess. I believe we played some games together and I beat him. He said that my "program" was better than his. Then he hired me as a summer research assistant to work on chess machines! A year or two later he sent me to Amsterdam to help translate Adriaan de Groot's book on the thought processes of the chess player. When I returned, he directed my masters thesis on a mating combinations program, which he had already begun with his son, Pete. Like a clever father, he subtly transformed me from an aspiring chess professional - though, more likely, impoverished chess bum - into a cognitive psychologist. He also directed my doctoral dissertation, a computer simulation of some visual mental imagery tasks, though I knew he would have preferred me to continue working on chess. He was stuck with his prediction that a computer would beat the world chess champion within ten years - it took 40. But sons must differentiate themselves from their fathers, mustn't they?
By then it was 1967-68  and the War in Vietnam was still raging [6] [7]. I went to Canada. Though Simon's views on the war were much less clear-cut than my own, he supported me. He even said that I could defend my thesis by teleconference. Though that proved unnecessary, you can imagine how much that meant to me. We continued to correspond and occasionally saw each other, but our lives diverged, as lives do. Thirty years later, in 1997-98, I returned to Carnegie-Mellon University to do a sabbatical with Herb. It was as though I was his graduate student all over again: I presented my research problems and he helped me solve them; he presented his research and I struggled to understand it. I never really overcame my fear of his staggering intellect, but it mattered less because the love between us was so palpable. This was also the time when he had his major heart operation, and I felt privileged to be near him and Dorothea. He told me a dream he had while in the hospital, and I was thrilled to be able to offer an interpretation - my turn to give. I am so grateful for those months in Pittsburgh. Thank you, Herb. I am so grateful for the decade at C. I. T.: Thank you, Dr. Simon. It is hard to imagine a world without you. May you rest in peace.
George W. Baylor
Ph.D., University of Montreal, a student and friend 

Selected Publications

External Links


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