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Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:27 am
by mcostalba
Disclaimer

I am really new to computer chess, actually I am still outside of computer chess development.

Yes, I have hacked for only a couple of months on a very well tought out engine called Glaurung, but my developments are mostly C++ code related, and it is still very far to be clear if the result is stronger, equal or very possibly weaker then Glaurung.

OSS

Glaurung is released with a GPL licence, as most of open source software out there, but the recent threads on this forum have started to make me think that not all the GPL software is the same. There is some GPL software that is more GPL then other :)

Actually, chess software world seems to have very peculiar aspects that I didn’t found in my previous OSS experience.

The biggets and for me the most clear difference is the lone-development model of chess engines.

In my opinion the real force of OSS is not that everybody can FORK a project and add something new. The biggest power of OSS is that everybody can JOIN a project and add a contribute to THAT project.

Perhaps I didn’t notice but I failed to see chess engine projects where there is a number of active contributors that concurrently (let alone publicly) develop an engine.

I really would like 100 times more to join a possible Glaurung project and send my patches there also anonymously then fork it and build up a new version.

I would think is more effective, as is in others OSS projects: chess software requires a joint effort of different disciplines as chess alghortims experts, code experts, profiler experts, internal daily testers (incredibly important!!!!) and so on. IMHO I would think is very tailored to a developer team more then a lone developer. But I am too new to state it and I agree I cannot be opinionated on this.

But one point on which I have a strong opinion, due to my past experiences in OSS, is that a joint development is surely more fun and more gratifying because is the daily exchange of ideas with your peers that makes OSS attractive to most, me included.

I absolutly don’t care if Stockfish has the rights to join public tests or tornments, I care to have an indipendent and serious test session to state ELO of this engine, after I have these numbers, please drop Stockfish from any pubblic list and test session out there.

I strongly belive OSS is for joining people, not for splitting.


Thanks for your time
Marco

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:39 am
by swami
Don't give up the development of stockfish, Marco.

Many people are interested in testing out the improved Glaurung. Part of the problem is that some programmers feel that they don't like the ratings list to be flooded with derivatives, I don't think rest of the community mind that.

People want stronger derivates as always, so don't mind the programmers who see competition instead of team work.

I had suggested the alternative: 2 rating lists - one with the ratings list of original + derivatives and another one seperate ratings list with "original" engines alone. That way we can settle disputes and people can draw their own conclusion. I'd like to see CCRL, CEGT implement this.

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:20 am
by meschle
Yes marco please continue development - tord appear pleased that this development had happened. It appears at the moment he does not have time to develop glaurung - so any development is welcome.

Initial results from my 5 min blitz tourne look promising for stockfish
Engine Score To SP Ry SP Cy St Br Gl S-B
1: Toga141se-1cpu 22.0/32 ····· 1001= 0=101 1=111 10== 11=1 1101 10111 328.50
2: SP-Inert-Thinker_32-bit 20.5/32 0110= ····· 1=0= =0=1 11011 0111 11011 01101 300.50
3: Rybka v2.2n2.mp.w32 18.0/32 1=010 0=1= ····· 0100= 11==0 1=001 1110 111= 269.25
4: SP-Passive-Thinker_32-bit 18.0/32 0=000 =1=0 1011= ····· 1010 11001 =0=11 1111 259.00
5: Cyclone_2.0-1cpu 14.5/32 01== 00100 00==1 0101 ····· 0001 =1101 10011 217.75
6: Stockfish 1.01 14.5/32 00=0 1000 0=110 00110 1110 ····· 01=10 01110 212.25
7: Bright-0.3a 10.5/32 0010 00100 0001 =1=00 =0010 10=01 ····· =001 169.50
8: Glaurung 2.1 10.0/32 01000 10010 000= 0000 01100 10001 =110 ····· 156.25

128 of 280 games played
Name of the tournament: Arena tournament
Site/ Country: HUB6090CZW, United Kingdom
Level: Tournament Game in 5 Minutes

It has beaten rybka 2.2n2 twice (glaurung 2.1 has not) - so be encouraged :D

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:24 am
by kranium
Hi Marco-

There is a group of individuals sharing ideas and collaborating on Toga II development: http://www.computerchess.info/tdbb/phpBB3/
although it doesn't seem to be going so well, it does exist, i.e. the initial spirit is there, and there has been some effort. Unfortunately, there seem to be 2 main (sub) versions, 141SE, and 142JD, and they do not seem to be collaborating. i.e.version 1.5 which might combine the benefits of both, does not exist.

My decision to fork from Toga -> Cylone was personal, wrought primarily out of necessity. My reputation in the chess community precluded me from joining their effort. i.e. my request to collaborate in July, was rebuffed. There is another effort with Toga, -> Grapefruit, and this does seem to be a completely individual effort by a young Russian programmer, and so far has really made any progress as far as i can tell.

I strongly urge you to continue with your efforts to develop Glaurung. It was plain to see that your new version was quite warmly received.

Instead of giving up, perhaps forging ahead is a good choice? I'm sure there many that would happy to collaborate with you. for example: how about the establishment of a Glaurung OSS development group...? Although I'm unfamiliar with the source code, I'd be happy to participate and possibly help. Will you give up so easily? If so, it's clear you don't have the kind of hard-nose determination that is critical here.

Sincerely,
Norm

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:33 am
by Olivier Deville
Hi Marco

Write an original engine on your own and I will take it in my tournaments :) I am pretty sure you can do it. I don't care if it is weaker than Rybka.

Olivier

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:35 am
by AdminX
Hi Marco,

I agree with the others so far in this thread. By the way, here is the results of the fixed version of Stockfish versus Bright.

Image

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:58 am
by Peter Aloysius
The problem with chess engine as an OSS project is, it doesn't matter how much elo strength gain. Even 100 points improvement to a 3000 elo engine didn't count much. Unless the ultimate goal is to catch Rybka.

Now I would like to ask, wouldn't it be more interesting to see a lot of different engines, each with it's unique strength and weakness, each with unique different playing style, each with different original idea, rather than watching a few 3000+ derivatives with very similiar playing style compete each other?

Which, do you think will give more benefit to computer chess in the future? A lot of unique different engines or very few similiar engines but very strong?

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:33 pm
by mcostalba
Peter Aloysius wrote: Now I would like to ask, wouldn't it be more interesting to see a lot of different engines, each with it's unique strength and weakness, each with unique different playing style, each with different original idea, rather than watching a few 3000+ derivatives with very similiar playing style compete each other?
Actually I don't know how to answer this question, I'don't know what is better to SEE, but I'm quite confident on what for me it is better to DO.

Starting a chess engine from scratch is an interesting and attarctive idea:

1) Have your name associate to an original engine

2) See your engine to grow up in elo when you add new features (mostly new for your engine, not for chess software literature)

3) Have the pride to see you engine to compete and win


Perhaps I am a bit strange, but I don't care _ANY_ of the three points above.

I have started with Glaurung just because I wanted to LEARN how a chess engine works. IMHO the best way to learn is to read the source of a well made engine. I modified a bit the source because you learn better if you rewrite (with same functionality), as for school books you learn better if you highlight or add personal notes.

The idea of writing form scratch is not attractive to me because the first two years I will probably pass the time reinventing (actually recopying) the wheel: NULL move, futility, king safety, bitboards, etc. etc. you name them.

After two years I would perhaps start with the novelities I am able to find. For me is more attractive to go hunting for new directions now, and this is possible only if you work above an already exsisting engine and more powerful and high quality is the engine the better.

I understund that people that see this activity in a more competitive way can be upset by a derivative/clone come from nowhere, that's the reason I would prefer Stockfish be dropped. It is not a competitive effort for me. It is a learning effort. On the other side a private engine suffers IMHO two strong weak points:

- Does not have the feedback from peers

- Does not have an independent evaluation/testing


Thanks
Marco

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:34 pm
by Zach Wegner
Hey Marco,

Great post! I too have wondered at the strange nature of the chess engine community. There are some people who are strongly against open source for one reason or another. And there are those who will not play with "clones". I never got this, but I have accepted it. The other thing I have found is that it is very fragmented. I was excited when I learned of the Toga forum, because I thought there might be some effort at unifying the source base. But come to find out, it's anything but. I'd like to contribute more, but I don't really have time...

But anyways, I have had a very positive experience with releasing my engine as GPL. Though I have only gotten a relatively small amount of people interested, I have received a ton of help from them that I probably would not have gotten if my engine was closed source or still private. So I would like to encourage you to keep at it, your efforts are appreciated and they will pay out eventually. There is always use for more organization and cooperation, so it might be a good idea to foster some sort of community approach--request more testers, coders, compilers, etc. One reason I think the Toga forum is so fragmented is that it started when there were already several independent forks, and each developer had their own stake in keeping their fork independent. There was competition instead of cooperation. But you have the opportunity now to start a unified development line. Take control and try to get something started. Who knows if it will work, but the computer chess sure needs it. Just my two cents here...

Zach

Re: Please drop Stockfish

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:37 pm
by kranium
kranium wrote:Hi Marco-

There is a group of individuals sharing ideas and collaborating on Toga II development: http://www.computerchess.info/tdbb/phpBB3/
although it doesn't seem to be going so well, it does exist, i.e. the initial spirit is there, and there has been some effort. Unfortunately, there seem to be 2 main (sub) versions, 141SE, and 142JD, and they do not seem to be collaborating. i.e.version 1.5 which might combine the benefits of both, does not exist.
Correction:

142JD is based on 141SE, so 141SE6 is a better example...