Checkers and chess are no longer the only games where computer programs are able to beat human world champions. Last November, Quackle, a crossword game artificial intelligence and analysis tool, beat a former Scrabble world champion 3 games to 2, as related in this newspaper article. The exciting thing about Quackle, from my point of view, is that it is released under the GPL, meaning that you have access to the source code. An excellent opportunity to learn a thing or two about AI programming for real.
I find mildly amusing how reports and comments on feats like this one are centered around the computer and the computer program. My impression is that frequently an important point is missed, namely, that these programs are actually a homage to the human brain, more concretely, to the very human brains of their creators. I’ve always wished to learn more about the details of how programs like DeepBlue are implemented. For checkers, i had the amusing Blondie24: Playing at the Edge of AI, where David B. Fogel explains how he created a top notch checkers player. Now, with Quackle, i can finally go to the core. Nice.