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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1812/325

Authors: Mohammed Azlan Mohamed Iqbal
Keywords: Aesthetics
Computer gaming
Issue Date: Sep-2008
Abstract: One of the best examples of a zero-sum perfect information game is chess. Aesthetics is an important part of it that is greatly appreciated by players. Computers are currently able to play chess at the grandmaster level thanks to efficient search techniques and sheer processing power. However, they are not able to tell a beautiful combination from a bland one. This has left a research gap that, if addressed, would be of benefit to humans, especially chess players. The problem is therefore the inability of computers to recognize aesthetics in the game. Existing models or computational approaches towards aesthetics in chess tend to conflate beauty with composition convention without taking into account the significance of the former in real games. These approaches also typically use fixed values for aesthetic criteria that are rather inadequate given the variety of possibilities on the board. The goal was therefore to develop a computational model for recognizing aesthetics in the game in a way that correlates positively with human assessment. This research began by identifying aesthetics as an independent component applicable to both domains (i.e. compositions and real games). A common ground of aesthetic principles was identified based on the relevant chess literature. The available knowledge on those principles was then formalized as a collection of evaluation functions for computational purposes based on established chess metrics. Several experiments comparing compositions and real games showed that the proposed model was able to identify differences of statistical significance between domains but not within them. Overall, compositions also scored higher than real games. Based on the scope of analysis (i.e. mate-in-3 combinations), any such differences are therefore most likely aesthetic in nature and suggest that the model can recognize beauty in the game. Further experimentation showed a positive correlation between the computational evaluations and those of human chess players. This suggests that the proposed model not only enables computers to recognize aesthetics in the game but also in a way that generally concurs with human assessment.
Description: Doctor of Philosophy
URI: http://dspace.fsktm.um.edu.my/handle/1812/325
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses : Computer Science

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