The IBM 700 series made scientific calculations and commercial operations easier, but the machines also provided the world with some entertainment.
“Wait! Hold the presses! A computer defeated a master checkers player! This was a major news story. Computers could solve the game of checkers. Mankind’s intellectual superiority was being challenged by electronic monsters. To the technology-illiterate public of 1962, this was a major event. It was a precursor to machines doing other intelligent things better than man. How long could it possibly be before computers would be smarter than man? After all, computers have only been around for a few years, and already rapid progress was being made in the fledgling computer field of artificial intelligence. Paranoia.”
University of Alberta Department of Computing Science GAMES Group
Studying blackjack on the 701
In 1954, a team of scientists ran millions of simulated hands of blackjack on an IBM 701 in an attempt to determine the best playing decision for every combination of cards. The result of this study was one set of correct rules for hitting, standing, doubling or splitting in a blackjack game. These rules are still the same today.