Leonardo Torres y Quevedo

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Leonardo Torres y Quevedo [1]

Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, (December 28, 1852 – December 18, 1936)
was an Spanish engineer and mathematician, influenced by the work of the English mathematician Charles Babbage (1791-1871) and his analytical engine. Torres was most famous for the Aero Cable Car on the Canadian side of the Niagara River and analogue calculating machines.

In 1910 he began (other sources state 1890, or 1901) to construct a chess automaton, El Ajedrecista (The Chessplayer). In 1912 it was able to automatically play a white king and rook against the black king. A second, mechanical but not algorithmic improved El Ajedrecista was built by Leonardo Torres Quevedo's son Gonzalo in 1922, under the direction of his father. At the 1951 Paris Cybernetic Congress the advanced machine was introduced to a greater audience and explained to Norbert Wiener [2].

IEEE Recognition

On March 17, 2007, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recognized Torres’ Telekine [3] with an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing [4]. The dedication was held at the Torres Quevedo Museum of Engineering, Institute of Civil Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid [5], where also a functional El Ajedrecista can be visited [6].


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