John Pasta

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John Pasta [1]

John R. Pasta, (1918 – June 5, 1981)
was an American computer scientist, known for his participation in the Manhattan Project and the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou experiment. In 1952, at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working under Nicholas Metropolis on the MANIAC I, John Pasta aided in the construction of an early computer that specialized in calculations around weapons design. John Pasta was head of the department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1964 to 1970.


According to John McCarthy's quote, Pasta is considered as early chess programmer, co-developing the MANIAC I chess program.


Quote by John McCarthy from Human-Level AI is harder than it seemed in 1955 on the Dartmouth workshop:

Chess programs catch some of the human chess playing abilities but rely on the limited effective branching of the chess move tree. The ideas that work for chess are inadequate for go. Alpha-beta pruning characterizes human play, but it wasn't noticed by early chess programmers - Turing, Shannon, Pasta and Ulam, and Bernstein. We humans are not very good at identifying the heuristics we ourselves use. Approximations to alpha-beta used by Samuel, Newell and Simon, McCarthy. Proved equivalent to minimax by Hart and Levin, independently by Brudno. Knuth gives details.

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