The near future of computer chess

Discussion of anything and everything relating to chess playing software and machines.

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hgm
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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by hgm » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:00 pm

It might be what the general public wants, but why would I pay attention to what the general public wants? I am a Chess programmer, not a member of the general public. If they want they can have their own clone festival. What the heck, it already exists. Have a look at the PlayChess engine room.

If someone steps in to organize such a thing with a trophy and or prize money, let them do it. They don't need ICGA for it, and we don't want them. It is not like they will be diverting millions of $ in adds revenues away from us...

I don't understand why you say rule #2 is unenforcible. I would say it has just been enforced on Rybka.

Of course when you say it was done in an immensely cumbersome and clumsy way, I would have to agree. But that does not mean it could be done a hundred times simpler and more effective: require source code, compiler info & binary of all participants up-front, and some kibitz logs from the games. The kibitz logs can validate the binary, compiling can validate the source. Inspecting the source easily reveals code copying. Piece of cake... Not acceptable to some participants? Out they go!

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by lkaufman » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:44 pm

[quote="RebelI am only predicting what is coming and we better are ready for it. Some day a smart business guy might notice the gap the ICGA left and will organize his own world championship. It's what people want, to see the strongest engines of the planet competing.[/quote]

I don't believe this. If the strongest engines are all near-clones, differing mostly by small eval changes and/or minor speedups, what interest is there in watching them play? It's almost like self-play. I think the interest is only in watching substantially different engines compete.

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by tpetzke » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:08 pm

In sports "doping" is not allowed. It is difficult to detect cheaters because they are clever and seem always one step ahead.

But at the point we give up and say ok, sports is now the "anything goes contest" sport will dead.

Thomas...

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Don
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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by Don » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:10 pm

Ed,

There are two types of people in any field. The majority only know how to work with things that are provided for them - they are not the people that actually make things happen. The world we live in today puts a huge amount of emphasis on giving the illusion of expertise to people who have no expertise and often computers are behind this. The concept is to try to help the person focus on doing something without having to be concerned about the low level details.

That is not a formula that ever leads to excellence. There will never be a paint by number kit that makes you a great artist for example. It only presents the illusion of competence. Providing a starting program that is at the very top can make everyone an expert, but it's hard to believe that you consider that desirable.

In fact I can hardly believe you even made the comment you did because it makes it seem like you don't have any concept of what actually goes into a chess program. What you are suggesting is that starting with a fully developed program and then passing it along to the pretenders to fine tune is how progress in this field will happen and that is completely ridiculous.

There is also the problem of incest. In the short time everyone has been really excited over the "clones", a new incredibly strong program coming out almost every week! Wow! It presented us with the illusion that every day we were making rapid progress with rich innovation, etc. We have seen the enthusiasts playing long matches between these programs and pretending they were all original works, but in the end it's just an illusion. Do you really have 20 unique programs or do you have a bunch of different versions of the same program?

The world has really been dumbed down a lot and people just accept what is spoon fed to them these days. Your way is the way of the world today and I'm disappointed in you for this. I just cannot believe you are becoming the advocate for this cookie cutter non-creative, non-innovative, pre-packaged kit style approach to computer chess.

Now you SAY you don't like it, but it's the way it is. But the surprising thing is that seem to think it's a superior approach, that you and I are outdated and that we need to get with the program so to speak. I think you are a very confused person.

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by jdart » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:24 pm

If you want to work on app servers, you can join an existing project like Tomcat. If you want to work on compilers, you can join the GCC project and contribute improvements. If you want to work on operating systems you can become a Linux comitter. I don't think anyone would consider you a second-rate programmer, or not an innovative one, because you were doing this on an existing foundation, vs. starting your own compiler project (for example). In fact these projects wouldn't have existed and advanced without a lot of dedicated contributors.

(Most commercial closed-sourced development is also like this. If you are in an early stage startup, you get to code stuff from scratch. But otherwise, you are probably fixing bugs and adding features to something that's existing, or at least building an add on of some sort that has to work with existing software).

So why is computer chess different?

--Jon

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by hgm » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:38 pm

The problem is that there are two kinds of 'Computer Chess': the sport and the business. You don't have that in compiler development. There is no such thing as a "World C-Compiler Construction Championship". That is what makes it different.

When we are talking about WCCC and ICGA rules, we are talking about the sport. So compiler or OS development is really a very poorly chosen comparison.

That there are people for which this is just a business, fine. Let them do their thing. Let them raise the art of transportation to motor-cycles and cars. That stilldoes not mean we want the motor-cycles to compete in our marathon...

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by bob » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:44 pm

Rebel wrote:
Rebel wrote: That you fight a lost battle like the music and video industry. You can't beat the clones with old rules not fit to stand the pressure anno 2011. That is better to do something now that you still have influence then to wait the problem to grow above your head and then realize you have lost with no influence at all.

It's a matter of vision. But if you want to live in the pre-internet past go ahead. It's mainly the old 80's and 90's generation that want to put their head in the sand.
bob wrote: [1] SO we can't defeat the terrorists outright. We should give up.

[2] We can't stop copying completely, so we should just open the floodgates and let everyone copy and enter.

[3] What a wonderful world you must live in. The music and video industries are hardly "losing" their battles. They are fighting on behalf of the artists making the videos or music. As they should.
1. You want to label the new guy Roberto Munter a terrorist for not willing to reinvent dozens of wheels and being honest about that ?

2. You know I don't want that. http://www.top-5000.nl/rule2.htm

3. You should take a look at youtube. You find everything. The music and movie industry are helpless. They have given up on youtube long time ago defeated by volume. These are the days of internet, it has come with new realities.

Bob, as 63 year old you certainly must know that to win a fight you can not win is to give up the lost fight and look for alternatives. I would not have said that 3-4 months ago but I foresee that before 2020 the situation will be drastically different as the new generation will take over, that's for sure. We are living now in a transition period, a fight between the old 80's and 90's pre-internet generation and the new 2005+ generation and it's better to give up now and find new solutions than being excluded from the innovatory process and laughed at for not recognizing the inevitable.

Also... one might wonder living in a world with strong source code all over the internet just a few mouse clicks away if it is reasonable to demand new chess programmers to write everything from scratch (because we had to!!) while at the same time it is allowed for the established programmers to freely take from Rybka's legacy of 400 elo points and never mention it. It's too bizarre for words and hypocritical. It's much better to have a transparent CC world with new rules, whatever those rules will be eventually.

Seriously, the time will come the new generation of chess programmers will give us oldies the middle finger for not using what's freely available blocking progress. We would like as those farmers refusing to use milk machines and go bankrupt for not recognizing the times.

Also put yourself in their shoes as an 20 year young university student anno 2011 fascinated by CC, would you start from scratch because a couple of old men want that ?
I think it is short-sighted to believe that the majority of programmers (who do NOT copy the work of others) can not deal with a lack of morals/ethics in a small group of authors that do not mind copying the work of others...

One does not normally capitulate to lawlessness. Try moving to Somalia or someplace like that to see what anarchy looks like. Not my cup of tea...

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by jdart » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:46 pm

hgm wrote:The problem is that there are two kinds of 'Computer Chess': the sport and the business.
For me, computer chess is neither a sport nor a business. It is just a hobby.

--Jon

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by bob » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:48 pm

Rebel wrote:
hgm wrote:I think you are completely wrong about this.

People still do long-distance running, although it is not a competitive method to get anywhere. Simply because it is fun to do. And those who do it best are highly respected by society. Major marathons do not get less attention and don't have any fewer fans than Formula 1 racing, despite the fact that the cars go som 15 times faster.

Writing Chess engines is just like that. There exist more than 500 engines, and the overwhelming majority of their authors never had the ambition to be the best or to be World Champion. They do it out of curiosity, and because it is fun. Many of those would not think it fun to make some marginal improvements to someone else his code. That sounds more like work...

So there will always be a community of original authors, and they will still be interested in having contests.
HGM, if you are saying you like the 80's and 90's situation better then we are in agreement. But anno 2011 rule #2 has become unenforceable.

Don't get me wrong, I dislike the situation as much as you do and like you I will refrain from copying as there (indeed) is no fun in that.

I am only predicting what is coming and we better are ready for it. Some day a smart business guy might notice the gap the ICGA left and will organize his own world championship. It's what people want, to see the strongest engines of the planet competing.
Inconsistent: I don't like it but we apparently must accept it. I don't agree.

I still believe this is more about trying to minimize what Vas did and make it appear to be OK because others have done it. I believe that there are many that have not "done it" based on Kai's statistical analysis he's posted here. Given that there are still original commercial (and non-commercial) authors, I don't see a need to "throw in the towel." The youth of today can certainly choose to do so. I mean, France did just wave white flags when Germany invaded. We know where that got them. Others chose to fight, even though the battle was going to be difficult. Nobody says we have to follow "the easy course". Just the "right course."

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Re: The near future of computer chess

Post by hgm » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:50 pm

jdart wrote:For me, computer chess is neither a sport nor a business. It is just a hobby.
May people have some sport as a hobby. Fact is that it is a competitive hobby, and that you do partcipate in contest like CCT or the ACCA Champtionship. So your hobby is actually a sport, even if you don't know it...

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