Abstract: Analysing the concept of boundary in engineering and informatics, it is natural to think about to the man-machine interaction. Aim of this paper is to present a brief history of the development of computers and informatics and to give attention to the fundamental correlation between the man and the machine itself. The case study in this work is represented by the analysis of the development of chess engines and the continuous transformation of these products until today.
In the history of computer science, a great gap between human and machine performances was given by the low calculating power of the first computing machines; thanks to the development of the knowledge of physics and informatics principles, computers have now great calculating performances; thanks to the continuous studies in computer science, informatics is now the most common tool used by man in everyday life.
One of the fields in which computers helped human knowledge to develop faster is chess. Chess engines were much weaker than any expert player since the nineties of the past century; then, in a few years, IBM realized “Deep Blue” project and, for the first time, a machine beat the reigning chess World Champion in standard tournament. The continuous research for better engines was not ended, by the way, and in 2017 Google’s AlphaZero project brought chess engines to another level of strength.
Analysing performances between man and machine during the decades of the Twentieth Century and the performances between AlphaZero and other current strong chess engines, it is shown that the boundary between human and machine and between machines during the years is constantly moving.