[rc5] distributed chess

Rob Winters rob at annapurna.com
Thu Oct 23 22:58:20 EDT 1997

On Thu, 23 Oct 1997, Alan R. Riley wrote:
> How about chess.distributed.net vs. Deep Blue?

I think that typical chess programs are intensively iterative, with
results feeding into the next calculations. This means fat pipes, and no
progress until your predecessor makes progress. Thus far, we've been
dividing up a haystack into buckets, and everyone searches their bucket
(or thimble) for the needle.  Chess is more like everyone taking a whack
at a block of granite to make a statue. If we all beat on separate blocks
once, no likeness.

If all possible combinations of the next "n" chess moves from a given
position onward could be exhaustively described mathematically (spanning
tree?), they and their children could perhaps then be divided up among
many clients for scoring.  'Course, some of the clients are at the end of
slow and/or unreliable links, some will respond too slowly, and some will
never respond. I think it would have to be hierarchical, a la neural net.
This implies a certain amount of trust that you *will* get a response, or
the tree gets incorrectly pruned. Or you're smart enough to give up and
ask another client that has a track record of responding.

Sounds like a bitchin program! I'd be very surprised if there weren't
massively parallel chess programs that might be used as starting points.
On today's 'Net, it might make a killer 'chess by mail' program. I don't
know about when the chess clock is running...

 /// Rob

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