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Subject: Re: WMCCC Hardware

Author: Robert Hyatt

Date: 13:48:06 10/17/97

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On October 17, 1997 at 13:34:36, Chris Whittington wrote:

>
>Well the spirit of the WMCCC is uniform platform in so far as that is
>possible.
>

I have only participated in two of these, counting this year.  As a
result, I can't say much about the "spirit".  But it does seem odd that
a few years ago, the best commercial programs all came on bleeding edge
hardware that you couldn't buy if you wanted.  Mephisto comes to mind,
but others did this too.  I'd be happy to participate in a uniform
platform championship, any machine you care to choose.  It would be fun,
and it would be revealing.  Unfortunately this event is not that event,
and fast hardware has become a common practice.  IE who ran on what
hardware at Aegon?  Etc...


>As in W-Micro-Computer-CC. Certainly more so that in the totally open
>WCC.
>
>Sure there's been a range of microprocessors around, and sure those
>dreadful hardware manufacturers had the thing sewn up in more ways than
>one in the past.
>
>But now is now. PC's are standard and fast. alpha's are more like the
>old idea of a mini-computer.
>
>And, since some 'amateurs' now have the resources to spend or acquire
>these ultra fast machines; while some 'professionals' can't or can
>barely afford the $1000 - something seems wrong somewhere.
>


Actually Bruce paid less for his alpha than I paid for my P6/200.  If
you
have had one for over a year, you likely paid around 5K for the thing,
at
least that's what they were going far about 15 months ago.  But as to
why
a "professional" can't afford such while an "amateur" can is something I
don't have a clue about.  I'm not wealthy, nor did I inherit a vast
fortune
of any kind, I own a P6 at home.  My wife and I (and kids) discussed
this for
a long time as it was a non-trivial expense.  I could just have well
bought an
alpha, but it would have been less useful for them.  It is more an
argument
of target market, rather than anything else.  The PC represents 99% of
the
world's computers, which is a big market.  The alpha is a small part of
the
rest.  I think the alphas will do well.  Whether they do well enough in
light
of being maybe 3x faster than the AMD is another question...



>So, i'm not too worried about Dark Thought on an alpha. They are a
>university research team, they don't 'compete' in the market. Crafty and
>Ferret do. I'm crying foul and unfair.


I'm not sure what you mean by "competing".  I have absolutely no
intentions
of ever being a commercial competitor.  I've done this too long, and
enjoy it
too much to risk burning myself out in a forced manner.  I don't
appologize
for giving Crafty away, because, in reality, it has started more serious
discussions and chess program developments than any thing I have seen in
the
past 10 years.  People are not *cloning* crafty... but suddenly they are
interested again.  I'd bet there are 10-12 people giving source away
now,
and sharing ideas as a result.  That was my original intent.  I see
computer
chess as a "different" ballpark now.  In the past a couple of very
bright
people were writing chess programs and blowing everyone out.  Now, there
are
*lots* of very bright people writing programs, *and* sharing ideas, and
the
commercial dominance is over.  There's a place for a polished,
ready-to-run
program. That is *not* my place.  more on this a little further down...



>
>The other thought is how much influence these 'amateurs' with resources
>have on some of the commercials decisions to not attend. Probably quite
>a bit to do with it would be my guess. Why bang your head against 750
>Mhz when you can stay away ?


When the commercial programs had no competition except for themselves,
they were ready to attend every year.  This has changed.  If you study
what
has happened, "what" has changed is quite obvious...  the "amateur"
programs.
If a commercial programmer doesn't want to attend any more, that is his
choice.  In general, however, the reason why has become pretty obvious.
I
could easily win the WMCCC.  I could easily finish dead last.  I could
easily
end up somewhere between those two extremes...  But *I* intend to find
out
exactly where, whether I like the result or simply have to work harder
for
next year...




>
>I plead with you both to run on fast K6's and not on alphas. Then the
>event will be in the spirit of equal resources for all, and a better
>event.
>
>Chris
>

I would be happy to do so, if *everybody* did so.  But I won't run on a
K6/233 when others are on PII/300's and various speeds of alphas.  No
one
cried foul when the mephistos of years past ran on machines clocked at
2x
what anyone else could find, or Fidelity doing the same.  This has never
been "uniform"...  It is not any less uniform today, except for the fact
that now it is the "amateurs" with hot hardware, because many of the PC
group have gone the .asm route to get more speed...  and gain some sort
of
SSDF edge or whatever.



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