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IBM’s Deep Blue computer has enduring celebrity status

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NEW YORK (AP) — Deep Blue, the computer that beat chess champion Garry Kasparov, is beating some human celebrities at what they do best — being famous.

In a recent study of how famous some celebrities are, Deep Blue ranked on par with actress Carmen Electra of Baywatch and slightly above CNN host Larry King. About 50 percent of the 1,200 adults in the study recognized Deep Blue's name — despite the computer's total lack of personality.

The study was conducted by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ Inc. at the request of International Business Machines Inc., which created Deep Blue.

Deep Blue hasn't made many appearances since it beat Kasparov in a highly publicized 1997 tournament, the first time a machine beat the best human chess player. It sits in IBM's Yorktown, N.Y., facility, where it is used for research projects. Occasionally, it plays chess with visiting dignitaries like Israeli party leader Nathan Sharansky.

Nevertheless, it seems to have its place in public consciousness, said Marketing Evaluations' Henry Schafer.

"This computer got its 15 minutes of fame and three years later we are still counting," Schafer said.

Deep Blue was featured this summer in the animated TV show Futurama as one of Al Gore's "Vice Presidential Action Rangers," helping save the world together with physicist Stephen Hawking.