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Old July 20th 05, 04:47 PM
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Default Teaching a Bayesian spam filter to play chess

By Laird A. Breyer, mentioned on Slashdot, link is . Below is the start.

'Can a Bayesian spam filter play chess?
by Laird A. Breyer

Many people these days depend on Bayesian filters to protect them from
the ever present email scourge that is spam. Unlike older technologies,
these programs' claim to fame is that they learn the spam patterns
automatically, and more importantly, learn personalized spam (bad) and
ham (good) email patterns.

Like many others, I wrote a Bayesian filter to protect me from unwanted
email, which I called dbacl. My implementation functions as a Unix
command line text classifier, with special email support, and can be
used with procmail.

People are often astonished at how well statistical mail filtering
works after they first try it, and it's tempting to imagine that such
programs actually understand the emails being delivered, rather than
merely matching patterns.

Now chess has always been a popular gauge of intelligence that everyone
can understand, so if we put all these ideas together, then the
question "Can a Bayesian spam filter play chess?" seems like a fun
experiment with a lot of appeal.

Let's put down some ground rules: This experiment will test a real spam
filter, not a specially designed chess program. It won't aim to beat
Deep Thought (I wouldn't know where to start, and I have a feeling this
could be difficult anyway ;-), but it will aim to show signs of
"intelligence", or we won't claim success. Finally, since dry tables
and graphs are no fun, a theoretical proof of concept is not enough:
the spam filter must really play chess in a way that everyone can see,
and try out at home.'

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