Ken Thompson (right) and Joe Condon, designers of Belle--a dedicated chess-playing machine Ken Thompson (right) and Joe Condon, designers of Belle--a dedicated chess-playing machine
1977 ca.
Courtesy of Bell Laboratories
L062302004

At Bell Laboratories in 1977, Ken Thompson (best known as the co-creator of the Unix operating system) and Joe Condon designed and built Belle, a dedicated chess-playing machine connected to a minicomputer. Belle’s custom hardware and endgame database revolutionized computer chess. Shown here is Joe Condon (l) and Ken Thompson at work on Belle.