A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

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Milos
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Milos » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:25 am

Dann Corbit wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:02 am
I guess at some point we will have 256 cores and 512 or more threads on the average desktop.
Why not 128 threads doing AB, 128 threads doing MCTS and the other 256 threads doing the better, more efficient search that gets discovered next year? After 128 threads, we seem to be adding less and less anyway.
Good luck with discovering more efficient search ;).
And thinking that 128 threads doing AB and 128 doing MCTS is more efficient than 256 doing AB while knowing that 128 threads doing AB is much more efficient than 128 doing MCTS just shows you lack basic understanding how search actually works.

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towforce
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by towforce » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:25 pm

Tony P. wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:48 am
60 hrs a week are indeed too much to dedicate to a hobby, to my taste. Such dedication is fine on a vacation but not all year round.

I disagree. For me, it's very impressive, and proves that he could start a new company while still working for his current employer. This is a rare and special situation - being able to work like mad at something new from a secure position.

I don't know whether Andrew wants to be an entrepreneur, but he's got most of what he needs, and if he did chose to do it, he's in an enviable position to make a great start.
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Tony P. » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:32 pm

That's a good suggestion. The catch is that Andrew will then need to pursue something very different. It will be hard to build a business around Ethereal unless Andrew manages to undo all the other contributors' commits and end up with a well-working engine that doesn't break others' GPL rights and is fit for proprietary development, and then to obfuscate it well enough to prevent at least the most basic forms of cloning. Also, he'd need to cater to common users' needs, which are rather uncorrelated with raw Elo.

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towforce
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by towforce » Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:30 pm

Tony P. wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:32 pm
That's a good suggestion. The catch is that Andrew will then need to pursue something very different. It will be hard to build a business around Ethereal unless Andrew manages to undo all the other contributors' commits and end up with a well-working engine that doesn't break others' GPL rights and is fit for proprietary development, and then to obfuscate it well enough to prevent at least the most basic forms of cloning. Also, he'd need to cater to common users' needs, which are rather uncorrelated with raw Elo.

I wouldn't build a business around a chess engine myself: might get a bit of money by including advertising in it, maybe? I would be inclined to find a new opportunity.
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Madeleine Birchfield » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:40 pm

To what extent is your penchant for competition in computer chess tied to your success in TCEC? If TCEC didn't exist (as was the case 15 years ago), would you still be so competitive in computer chess?

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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Madeleine Birchfield » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:47 pm

Guenther wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:08 am
This is wrong, history has shown that people clone engines nearly of all levels.
Is cloning engines only a problem in computer chess or do other computer board game communities such as computer go or computer shogi have similar cloning issues?

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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by mvanthoor » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:23 pm

Madeleine Birchfield wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:47 pm
Is cloning engines only a problem in computer chess or do other computer board game communities such as computer go or computer shogi have similar cloning issues?
Are there fivehundred bazillion open source Go or Shogi engines? I don't know, but I suppose not.

Even though one of the reasons I postponed writing a chess engine for so long is because there are so many... but now that I'm actually almost finished with my version 1, I came to realize that it's a -blessing- that there are so many. There's a good opponent (tens of opponents even) at every stage of development to play against :)
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by AndrewGrant » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:38 pm

emadsen wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:54 am
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Andrew. It's refreshing to hear someone speak so directly from the heart. I marvel at what you've built with Ethereal. You should be very proud of yourself. I don't feel qualified to weigh in on the technical aspects of neural networks and how, combined with open source projects, they're altering our cherished hobby of chess engine programming. I'll address the emotional issue instead- in your words, feeling "disheartened."

For the most part, I believe a competitive nature is a good personal quality. It drives a person to improve themselves. That was on vivid display a few months ago, in a trip down memory lane, watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance documentary. Reminded me how absolutely in awe I was of his talents and his competitive drive. I have never seen an athlete as competitive and focused as Jordan, nor have I seen another athlete who could raise the level of play among his teammates- not to the degree Jordan could. Yes, the documentary illustrates some corrosive aspects of his personality, but what's depicted is overwhelmingly positive. So yes, competitiveness is admirable.

However, it is inextricably connected to a need to be praised. This reliance on the attitudes- or obsequiousness- of others can be harmful. You're basically giving away the keys to your self-esteem to other people. People who may not have your best interest in mind. People who may cheat to get the praise they desire- stealing it from you. So, like most things in life, it's a balancing act: Find a profession or hobby where you can direct your energies towards competition. Find friends, a spouse, family where you can give instead of conquer. Balance the two or you'll be miserable.
Thanks Erik. Its always nice to hear from you. Life balance is a challenge. Based on my post, its pretty clear I don't have much of that balance. At a time in my life I did, but some unfortunate events later and now I feel my best bet is to throw myself at one thing at a time. Its disappointing when you finally leave that one thing, but its rewarding while apart of it.
emadsen wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:54 am
Are they disheartened, though? Do they leave? I believe this is only true at the upper echelons. Easy for me to say with a middling 2500 engine, while you've built Ethereal into a monster and are up in the stratosphere competing with a huge crowd-sourced engine, a historically strong commercial engine, and unacknowledged clones. What you experience up there in the clouds may not be representative of us down here. I can only speak for myself: I dabble with my engine occasionally to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. To engage in a form of programming very different from my day-to-day business programming.
You are likely correct, and these threads over the last week or two give pretty good evidence of that. Perhaps I am one of few that are concerned, as I've taken to doing this at a competitive level, with competition being the intent. Ethereal may have started as a pure hobby project, but its a lot deeper than that now.
emadsen wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:54 am
I've been working on Ethereal for 60hrs a week for the last 6 years.
This concerns me. Are you employed? You obviously are a talented programmer, so I assume you are. If so, this suggests you're burning the candle at both ends. How long can that last?

Sorry to get all philosophical on you. I hope in the near future you can find a healthy mindset and mix of activities (chess programming or otherwise) to satisfy your desire to compete and win and a need to connect and share. Because, like it or not, redressing the wrongs that have occurred in competitive chess engine programming is likely a futile exercise. People will always cheat to boost their fragile self-esteem, harming you in the process.
I've worked on and off, while doing School on and off. I finally abandoned University a few years ago, as I felt that even though I was 3/4ths of the way done, it was not worth the grief. I was working for a U.S. defense company for a while, which is actually when I wrote most of Ethereal. I was not quite a full time employee, not quite an intern. I worked 40 hours a week on a salary, but the work I received was sparse. Plenty of downtime. Its when I wrote OpenBench, and its when I wrote Ethereal's tuning core.

I'm working again now -- for chess.com actually. Its a juggling act, one which I'm losing, since I can't do 60 hours of Ethereal and 40 hours of work and 20 hours of family and 40 hours of sleep. Something has to go, and I'm pretty keen on all 4.

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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Albert Silver » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:30 am

Madeleine Birchfield wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:47 pm
Guenther wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:08 am
This is wrong, history has shown that people clone engines nearly of all levels.
Is cloning engines only a problem in computer chess or do other computer board game communities such as computer go or computer shogi have similar cloning issues?
In Go at least, the attitude is very different. If you look at the last major events, endowed with tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes, the main players were all NN projects openly based on AlphaZero. There were no cries of 'AlphaZero clone!'
"Tactics are the bricks and sticks that make up a game, but positional play is the architectural blueprint."

Milos
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Re: A Crossroad in Computer Chess; Or Desperate Flailing for Relevance

Post by Milos » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:42 am

AndrewGrant wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:38 pm
I'm working again now -- for chess.com actually. Its a juggling act, one which I'm losing, since I can't do 60 hours of Ethereal and 40 hours of work and 20 hours of family and 40 hours of sleep. Something has to go, and I'm pretty keen on all 4.
Why not, a week after all has 168 hours, so still 8 extra hours left to do other stuff ;).
Jokes aside, when one is your age, one can actually afford to have a 60h/week hobby whether it's playing video games, hanging out with friends, gambling, smoking weed, or being a chess programmer geek. Once you get a bit older, priorities in life usually change.
What is kind of interesting with this computer chess hobby, that it's a hobby of mainly either quite young or quite old ppl (and there are a few in-between that are trying to earn some money out of it). ;)

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