Reading Comprehension
Verbal Ability

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Common Information

Currently the focus of research into artificial intelligence (AI) is on relatively limited applications, including guiding airplanes and missiles, understanding language, detecting credit card fraud, and diagnosing medical conditions from electrocardiograms. While these avenues certainly contain promise for commercial and industrial interests, the populace at large typically is more interested in a slightly less consequential application of AI. In 1997, Deep Blue, a chess playing computer program, defeated grand master Gary Kasparov in a tournament, marking the first time a computer was able to beat a human world champion.

But these more "frivolous" applications of AI are actually valuable indicators of the state of technology. Computer engineers are constantly reviving and reinventing the programming algorithms in an effort to make computers think more like people do. And the exponential increases in processing and storage technology are allowing artificial intelligence researchers to greatly increase the power of AI programs while simultaneously reducing the size and computing needs of the machines. For example, the Deep Blue program required 256 specialized processors to analyze the millions and millions of combinations of moves. Each of these processors was about one hundred times faster than a standard home computer, which means Deep Blue was about 25,600 times faster than a 1997 personal computer.

Only five years later, in 2002, AI engineers unleashed a new chess playing program, Deep Fritz. Deep Fritz played Vladimir Kramnik, the highest ranked chess player in the world, to a draw, but this result was anything but a failure to the AI community. Whereas Deep Blue required 256 processors to achieve its victory, Deep Fritz had a mere eight. Deep Blue could analyze 200 million moves per second, but Deep Fritz could deal with only 2.5 million. Yet Deep Fritz’s chess playing abilities more closely resemble those of a person. Deep Blue was able to defeat Kasparov by brute strength alone, calculating millions of possible moves and counter moves. Deep Fritz played Kramnik to a draw by using advanced pattern recognition skills, which allowed it to be competitive despite considering fewer move combinations.


Common Information Question: 4/4

The primary purpose of the above passage is to:


contrast the abilities of two computer programs


encourage researchers to pursue more serious inquiries


detail the state of research in a particular field


compare human chess players to computer chess programs


challenge a long-held assumption about AI

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Option(C) is correct

This is a main idea question. To answer a primary purpose question, think about why the author would write a particular passage. This passage is designed to explain how chess programs reveal the state of AI technology.

Choice C best captures this purpose. Choice A does not go far enough. The chess programs are examples of a larger point about AI - they are not the primary purpose.

Choice B is off base because the focus isn’t on what researchers should pursue.

Choice D is similar to choice A in that it focuses on a detail but misses the larger point.

There is no long-held assumption mentioned, so choice E is out of scope.

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