Paul W. Abrahams

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Home * People * Paul W. Abrahams

Paul W. Abrahams,
an American mathematician, consulting computer scientist, and past president of the Association for Computing Machinery. Paul W. Abrahams received a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1956, and a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1963 on Machine Verification of Mathematical Proof, both from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying artificial intelligence under Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy. He is one of the designers of the first Lisp system and also the designer of the CIMS PL/I system.

Computer Chess


In the 2007 interview with Arthur Norberg, Abrahams mentioned that he met Claude Shannon and was working with him and McCarthy — on a chess program [1]:

And I also met Claude Shannon and was working with him and McCarthy — on a chess program. It calculated two-move mates and was written in FORTRAN. That was also the time that FORTRAN was starting to hit the world.  


Paul W. Abrahams' routines were used in the Kotok-McCarthy-Program, as mentioned in Alan Kotok's memo and thesis about the program [2] [3]:

In the fall of 1960 the chess group, without Mr. Berlekamp, began planning for the general chess program. It was decided to retain the original McCarthy/Abrahams move routines, and to continue coding in FORTRAN  and FAP. The program was to be a variable depth search with a "stable position" termination. An evaluation was to be made at the terminal points of the move tree. This evaluation would be a weighted sum of such criteria as material balance, center control, pawn structure, "tempo" advantage, and development. 

Selected Publications


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1970 ...

1980 ...

1990 ...

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External Links


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