Difference between revisions of "Hans Berliner"

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=Selected Publications=
=Selected Publications=
<ref>[http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/pers/hd/b/Berliner:Hans_J=.html DBLP: Hans J. Berliner]</ref> <ref>[http://ilk.uvt.nl/icga/journal/docs/References.pdf ICGA Reference Database] (pdf)</ref>  
<ref>[http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/pers/hd/b/Berliner:Hans_J=.html DBLP: Hans J. Berliner]</ref> <ref>[[ICGA Journal#RefDB|ICGA Reference Database]]</ref>  
==1970 ...==  
==1970 ...==  
* [[Hans Berliner]] ('''1970'''). ''Experiences Gained in Constructing and Testing a Chess Program''. [[IEEE]] Symposium System Science and Cybernetics, reprinted in [[David Levy]] (ed.) ('''1988'''). ''[http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4613-8716-9 Computer Games I]''.  
* [[Hans Berliner]] ('''1970'''). ''Experiences Gained in Constructing and Testing a Chess Program''. [[IEEE]] Symposium System Science and Cybernetics, reprinted in [[David Levy]] (ed.) ('''1988'''). ''[http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4613-8716-9 Computer Games I]''.  

Revision as of 17:14, 16 November 2020

Home * People * Hans Berliner

Hans Berliner [1]

Hans Jack Berliner, (January 27, 1929 - January 13, 2017)
was a German born, American Computer Scientist and Professor Emeritus from Carnegie Mellon University [2], Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hans Berliner was Grandmaster of Correspondence Chess, International Master for over-the-board chess and was Correspondence Chess World Champion from 1965 until 1968.

Hans Berliner made his Ph.D. Thesis in 1974 at Carnegie Mellon about computer chess: Chess as Problem Solving: The Development of a Tactics Analyser [3] under the supervision of Allen Newell. Berliner contributed as co-author to the Technology Chess Program. He was author of the chess programs J. Biit, CAPS, Patsoc, along with Murray Campbell co-author of the chunking pawn endgame program Chunker, and lead the team in developing the HiTech chess entity - namely Carl Ebeling, Murray Campbell, Gordon Goetsch and Chris McConnell. Beside other things, Hans Berliner's research was about pattern knowledge and creation and implementation of the best-first tree search algorithm called B* [4], also used in HiTech.

Chess Programs

BKG 9.8

In the late 70s at Carnegie Mellon University, Hans Berliner developed the Backgammon playing program BKG 9.8 for the PDP-10 to research the principles of evaluation for another game than chess with a much higher branching factor of more than 800 at every node [5]. Early versions of BKG played badly even against weak players, but Berliner noticed that its critical mistakes were always at transitions apparently due to evaluation discontinuity. He applied principles of fuzzy logic to smooth out the transition between phases, and by July 1979, BKG 9.8 was strong enough to play against the ruling world champion Luigi Villa. It won the match 7–1, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in any game. Berliner states that the victory was largely a matter of luck, as the computer received more favorable dice rolls [6] [7].


5-2a.Carnegie Mellon University.Berliner-Hans Ebeling-Carl.198X.L062302001.CMU.lg.jpg

Hans Berliner and Carl Ebeling, developers of HiTech at Carnegie Mellon University [8]


Cray Blitz vs. HiTech, WCCC 1986 [9]


James Gillogly

Quote by James Gillogly on Berliner's Technology Program contribution [10]:

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to Hans Berliner, World Correspondence Chess Champion, who developed the elegant techniques used in the positional analysis, and whose patient discussion helped to clarify many of the conceptional problems. The basic idea of the Technology Program is due in large part to Allen Newell. 

Alex Bell

Quote by Alex Bell from his report on Advances in Computer Chess 1 [11]:

A number of experts were invited to give papers. on their work, including Dr Mikhail Donskoy of the USSR, one of the authors of the world champion program, KAISSA. Unfortunately Donskoy was unable to attend, a disappointment only mitigated by the presence from the US of Dr Hans Berliner, of Carnegie-Mellon. Berliner is the world correspondence chess champion and has also spent the last eight or nine years programming computers to play the game. To most people in the practical, model building side of the subject, ie making a program play the computer game, Berliner is THE expert. Although full of good, implementable ideas he has no illusions as to the limitations of such chess programs.
The conference itself lasted one and a half days and the papers (depending on the listener) ranged from the profound to the puerile. I have no desire to repeat my own personal views, indeed as one of the organisers I helped to provide a platform for speakers whose views I found astonishing. What did seem evident to me was that the majority of the audience fell into one of three categories. One group is the artificial intelligentsia. They fully understand the difficulties of the problem and are still thinking about how to solve it. The second group are the let's get on and program something crunchers, the model makers, the people who can make big computers float round the room whistling God save the Queen. These people absolutely refuse to put anything remotely resembling knowledge, chess or otherwise, into their programs if they can avoid it, believing that if the result plays good chess then it can be more easily adapted to attempt other, more useful, decision making problems. The third group is the most important, these are the people who are new to the subject, the people who say, It sounds like a fascinating problem and I'd like to know what's going on.
Hans Berliner fits into two of these categories, his talk covered the AI approach and the crunchers, but he is hardly a newcomer. He was the first speaker and the domain of his talk was chess tactics with emphasis on recognising situations and dealing with them explicitly. He is full of good ideas and techniques which are relevant to the problem of selecting the right move in a game of chess and, more important, showed clearly how each idea and technique could be implemented in a computer. 

Hans Berliner

Hans Berliner about his role in the HiTech team [12]:

I have been responsible for doing the pattern knowledge and most of the opening book, and acting as moderator for the many fine discussions that we have about how to improve HiTech in the various areas that need work. 

See also

Selected Publications

[13] [14]

1970 ...

1980 ...

Revised as Hans Berliner, Carl Ebeling (1990). Hitech. Computers, Chess, and Cognition

1990 ...

Critique about Mikhail Botvinnik [16] [17] [18]

2000 ...

External Links

Oral History



  1. WCCC 1986 Video capture at 24:34 during interview by Albrecht Fölsing at 24:14 before the final game Cray Blitz vs. HiTech
  2. Carnegie Mellon, School of Computer Science
  3. Hans Berliner (1974). Chess as Problem Solving: The Development of a Tactics Analyser. Ph.D. thesis, Carnegie Mellon University
  4. The B* tree search algorithm: A best-first proof procedure from ScienceDirect.com
  5. Hans Berliner (1977). Experiences in Evaluation with BKG, a Program That Plays Backgammon. IJCAI 1977, hosted by Backgammon Galore
  6. Hans Berliner from Wikipedia
  7. Hans Berliner (1980). Backgammon Computer Program Beats World Champion. Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 14
  8. Photo ca 1985, © Bill Redick, History of Computer Chess from The Computer History Museum
  9. Cray Blitz vs. HiTech, WCCC 1986, Photo from Historic Pictures by Ed Schröder
  10. James Gillogly (1972). The Technology Chess Program. Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 3, pp. 145-163. ISSN 0004-3702. Reprinted (1988) in Computer Chess Compendium
  11. 1975 Press Releases - Techniques for playing the end game from Atlas Computer Laboratory, hosted by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL)
  12. Hans Berliner (1988). Pennsyvania State Chess Championship - HiTech Becomes First Computer Senior Master. AI Magazine Volume 9 Number 3 (© AAAI), pdf
  13. DBLP: Hans J. Berliner
  14. ICGA Reference Database
  15. The First Computer Chess Championship in the USA by batgirl, Chess.com, September 20, 2017
  16. Kasparov missed Beautiful win; Botvinnik's Program muffs analysis by Hans Berliner, rgcc, July 9, 1993
  17. Hans Berliner against Mikhail Botvinnik by Alexander Timofeev
  18. Berliner paper about Botvinnik by Shane Hudson, rgc, September 10, 1994
  19. Why did Kasparov blink? by Tom King, rgcc, March 22, 1999
  20. White to play and win - discussion on Berliner's The System from Wikipedia
  21. The System: A World Champion's Approach to Chess Reviewed by Jeremy Silman
  22. My (the) System discussion on Berliner's The System from rgcc, January 13, 2000
  23. Hans Berliner, Master Chess Player and Programmer, Dies at 87 by John E Jack, CCC, January 17, 2017

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