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From Brutus to Hydra
The mathematician Donninger about the evolution of his chess program
19.01.2004
The mathematician and chess programmer Dr. Christian Donninger spoke about his experiences while developing “Brutus” - one of the most efficient chess programs in the world. He delivered the speech at an informal discussion on 16 January during the university course on Telematics Management and ICT Management in Danube University Krems.
Donninger, who had studied mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna, started to develop a “Deep Blue for the common people“ – Donninger was alluding to the legendary IBM chess computer which defeated the world champion Gary Kasparow in 1997.

Donninger’s approach for devising an economical, yet extremely efficient, chess program is based on a combination of software and a special chess hardware which assisted Deep Blue in its victory– at a much higher cost and with much more effort. Brutus helped Donninger to be successful in numerous international computer chess tournaments in 2002 and 2003.

The original producer opted out of the project at the end of 2003 but Donninger was able to get a financially strong sponsor from the United Arab Emirates who enabled him to continue his work on his second chess program – this one was named Hydra. According to Donninger the goal of the project is to achieve spectacular victories over human chess-players and to make Hydra a worthy successor of Deep Blue.