WATERVILLE — The Maine Film Center recently announced Railroad Square Cinema will take part in the third annual National Evening of Science on Screen on Tuesday, March 22. According to a news release from Shannon Haines, executive director, Maine Film Center.

Nineteen independent theaters in cities across the country will participate in this event, which will feature a short introductory video, followed by a unique film and speaker presentation at each venue as part of its Science on Screen program.

The cinema will screen “Computer Chess” with an introduction by Clare Bates Congdon, Visiting Associate Professor of Computer Science at Bowdoin College beginning at 7 p.m. The film is set in the early 1980s, in and around an isolated roadside hotel, where computer programmers gather for a tournament that pits their chess programs against each other.

The action is centered on the junior programmer of an academic team who begins to suspect that their computer is able to detect the difference between a computer opponent and a human one, and thus is exhibiting elements of self-consciousness.

Professor Congdon, whose research in games includes creating artificial game players for video games such as Ms. Pac Man and Mario, and four wins at international conferences for artificial-intelligence video-game players, will give a brief introductory talk on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Computer Games.

With Science on Screen, theaters pair a variety of films with science and technology experts. Each film serves as a jumping-off point for the expert speaker to explore a related scientific or technological topic in a way that engages general audiences — from time perception in inception to the theoretical neurobiology of the zombies in “The Night of the Living Dead.”

The program aims to highlight the rich and varied connections between science and film. Movie-and-speaker pairings will address such diverse concepts as disease pandemics, artificial intelligence and gaming, population control, and extrasolar planets. Participating theaters will present a different program.

For a complete list of Science on Screen events taking place on March 22, please visit scienceonscreen.org.


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