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September 13, 2010 AT 10:24 am

The Electronic Coach

The Electronic Coach —

[Recorded: circa 1959] – “The Electronic Coach” is a short film made by IBM describing the use of computers in the management of a university basketball team. The film features computer science legend Don Knuth, then a senior at Case Institute of Technology. For all four of his undergraduate years at Case (1956-60), Knuth was manager of the basketball team and sought ways to improve his team’s play by analyzing a series of special statistics he captured during games. The scoring method was unusual in the weightings it gave to activities not necessarily associated with traditional coaching but Knuth’s insights into basketball, combined with his computerization of the reams of data he collected, helped Case’s coaching staff make their basketball team a winner. The computer used is an IBM 650.


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