In regards to Houdini:
Gabor Szots wrote: ↑
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:33 pm
I have accidentally come across this thread, actually because I am looking for advice on a new engine called Beef.
I have to say it is possible that we have several clones on our lists. We are not experts on this and it seems to me even the expert community is often divided on whether a particular engine is a clone or not. Remember the Rybka, Robbolito and Houdini wars?
So this is not a case of allowed or disallowed. By no means would we include a clone if we knew it was a clone. But at the moment there is no official jury to tell us so we are on our own. And in case of doubt we assume innocence.
OK, so what is your opinion about Beef?
The jury is settled. I can provide you with a binary that plays the exact same verbatim to Houdini, compiled using source code that is a verbatim translation of Stockfish with a few additions and reductions. There is NO
argument to be made that Houdini is not a clone. NONE
. So, sorry for the strong words here: But anyone who disagrees is either a moron or uninformed, and any rating list that continues to allow Houdart to benefit from violating copyright law and profiting to the tune of millions off of it should be ashamed of themselves. Scrub Houdini (and another engine soon, which is violating Stockfish's copyright as the author refuses to respond to affirm or deny any GPLv3 Source Requests) from the face of the earth.
In regards to Beef:
I've been talking to the author of Beef extensively. He seems to know what he is doing, and Beef is not a clone in the sense that Houdini is, which is a copy paste verbatim of something else. However, Beef is very clearly structured based on an amalgamation of a few different open source engines. Its still his work. Its still his code. He did the re-implementations himself. But he has taken the "tweaked" ideas as is, instead of starting from the ground floor and working his way up, in my estimation. Please see my post here viewtopic.php?p=839622#p839622
to get an idea of what I mean. TL;DR: Its fine to implement an idea in its basic form. Its fine to test all the little tricks that other engines use to refine the idea. Its fine if after testing many forms, both known and unknown, that you converge on a definition similar to Ethereal or Stockfish. Its not fine to start right out the gate with the Stockfish or Ethereal result. Doing so denies the chance for you and your engine to implement any nuance.
Beef is more legitimate than many engines in my view. He has built the thing himself. His only sin is that it resembles other works. Perhaps he has extensively tested things and converged upon the definitions like stated above. I assume the reason for the post is that Beef performed very well in initial testing. I saw a result that was beating Combusken, which appears to be a go port of Ethereal's search, which suggests Beef is quite strong.
Please note that we are able to have this conversation because the author of Beef is open and willing to share the source of his program. We can nitpick and debate the relative merits of the code freely. That is a luxury we did not, but now do, have with Houdini, and still don't have with the aforementioned other engine. Also, Beef is an order of magnitude more work than it is to re-use the Leela GPU binary and "build" your "own" NN engine. For all you know, Beef has the same % of ideas from open source engines as the rest of the closed-source field does. Beef author put himself in the hot seat willingly by sharing. Very honourable, especially in a time when so many authors are not.
Personally, I think Beef is a fine candidate to put on rating lists and in competitions like TCEC and CCC
. My request to the author would be that he work to provide reasonable acknowledgment of were ideas came from if they are very specific, if he is not already. However, legally speaking, Beef is a totally valid entity which is not infringing on the copyright of any program to my knowledge.