[rc5] distributed chess

Steve Trottier STROTTIER at novell.com
Mon Oct 27 19:05:48 EST 1997

Several weeks (months?) ago when the chess thread first started up, no one
was suggesting that distributed net could be used to play real-time chess.
The idea was that it could be used to build up a large database of end games
and then that database could be used by a single computer playing real-time

There are several problems with using distributed.net to play real-time
chess. Some of them have already been brought up, such as, analysis of chess
positions is not something that can easily be distributed. Most of the
calculations depend on results of previous calculations. Even if an
effective algorithm could be found for distributed chess, the network
(Internet) would be a huge bottleneck. With RC5 it's not that big of a
problem, since our clients only need to communicate with the proxy a few
times each day (at the most). A chess program would want results of
calculations returned immediately and that would create a huge load on the
servers/proxies. A distributed chess algorithm that had to wait for results
to come over the wire rather than calculating them locally in its own CPU
might actually make the program slower and/or less reliable rather than
faster and/or better.

Don't get me wrong. Using distributed.net for chess interests me a lot. It's
the type of project that would give us some real results (probably a lot
faster than RC5-64 will). If real-time chess isn't feasable, then I hope
someone comes up with a plan to make that end game database.

Steve Trottier <strottier at novell.com>
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