An Early Danish Computer Game: The case of Nim, Piet Hein, and Regnecentralen

Anker Helms Jørgensen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper reports on the development of Nimbi, which is an early computer game implemented at the Danish Computer Company Regnecentralen in 1962-63. Nimbi is a variant of the ancient game Nim. The paper traces the primary origins of the development of Nimbi. These include a mathematical analysis from 1901 of Nim that “killed the game” as the outcome could be predicted quite easily; the desire of the Danish inventor Piet Hein to make a game that eluded such analyses; and the desire of Piet Hein to have computers play games against humans. The development of Nimbi was successful in spite of considerable technical obstacles. However, it seems that the game was not used for publicizing the capabilities of computers – at least not widely – as was the case with earlier Nim implementations, such as the British Nim-playing computer Nimrod in 1951. 
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory of Nordic Computing 2
EditorsJohn Impagliazzo, Timo Järvi, Petri Paju
Number of pages6
Publication date2009
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-03756-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventHistory of Nordic Computing 2 - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 21 Aug 200723 Aug 2007


ConferenceHistory of Nordic Computing 2
SeriesIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology

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