After 18 years of number-crunching, a checkers-playing computer program has conquered the game. Checkers is the most complicated game computers have mastered, Scientific American reports, beating Connect Four by a factor of a million. "I was a bit obsessed," says the lead researcher. "My wife would say more than a bit obsessed."
University of Alberta researchers "solved" checkers by examining which arrangement of pieces and moves would result in a win, loss, or draw. They concentrated on openings and endgames; the total number of possible permutations is 50 billion billion. No word on whether the computer's little brother scatters the pieces across the sunporch when he realizes he can't win.