Tim Niblett

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Tim Niblett [1]

Timothy B. (Tim) Niblett,
a British computer scientist, AI researcher and entrepreneur in the field of Expert systems. Tim Niblett defended his Ph.D. with the thesis Validation of Machine-Oriented Strategies in Chess Endgames at University of Edinburgh in 1982 under Donald Michie [2], and co-founded the Turing Institute along with Michie et al..

Decision Trees

At the Department of Machine Intelligence at University of Edinburgh, Tim Niblett researched on decision tree algorithms and decision tree learning applied to chess. Tim Niblett and Alen Shapiro, another of Michie's students, adopted Ross Quinlan's Iterative Dichotomiser 3 (ID3) algorithm for processing complex data [3] for other employment at the chessboard, while they overcame [4] its disadvantage that it yielded massively unwieldy and incomprehensible decision-rules with structured induction, an interactive regime for generating machine-executable decision rules and configuring them into transparent concept-hierarchies. Niblett and Shapiro tested ID3 on the endgame of KPK, and found that decision trees generated by the algorithm 100% accurate.

Chess Endgames

Quote by Maarten van Emden in I remember Donald Michie [5]:

In 1980 I spent another summer in Edinburgh as a guest of Donald Michie. Since the low point of 1975, thanks to assiduous and inventive joint pursuit of funding possibilities by Donald and Jean, the Machine Intelligence Research Unit was alive with work focused on chess endgames. There were students, including Tim Niblett and Alen Shapiro. Danny Kopec was there, perhaps formally as a student, but de facto as the resident chess consultant. Ivan Bratko visited frequently. Alen was the administrator of the dream computing environment of that time: a small PDP-11 running Unix. 

Selected Publications


External Links


  1. Tim Niblett (@tim_niblett) | Twitter
  2. Tim Niblett (1982). Validation of Machine-Oriented Strategies in Chess Endgames. Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinburgh
  3. Ross Quinlan (1986). Induction of Decision Trees. Machine Learning, Vol. 1, No. 1
  4. D. Michie CV
  5. I remember Donald Michie (1923 – 2007) « A Programmers Place by Maarten van Emden, June 12, 2009
  6. ICGA Reference Database (pdf)

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