Embedding Software in Hardware


In the 1980s, two competing computer chess machines, named Hitech and ChipTest, emerged from Carnegie Mellon University. These computers used advances in custom chip technology to implement search strategies in hardware that had previously been performed by software. This allowed faster and thus deeper searching.

The ChipTest team developed a second machine, named Deep Thought, which won the Fredkin Intermediate Prize in 1989 for the first system to play at the Grandmaster level (above 2400). Both Hitech and Deep Thought won computer-to-computer chess tournaments. More importantly, they stunned the chess community in 1988 by defeating human opponents, Grandmasters Arnold Denker (Hitech) and Bent Larsen (Deep Thought).