Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: WMCCC - may the best man at getting the fastest hardware win :(

Author: Robert Hyatt

Date: 20:50:05 10/18/97

Go up one level in this thread

On October 18, 1997 at 05:06:23, Chris Whittington wrote:

>On October 17, 1997 at 23:21:27, Robert Hyatt wrote:
>>On October 17, 1997 at 18:23:47, Amir Ban wrote:
>>>Would like to add my six cents here:
>>>Some may be limited in hardware because they write assembler, but the
>>>issue for others is simply availability and logistics. I have a pure C++
>>>program that runs on Win32, which makes it probable that I could run on
>>>an Alpha quite easily. When I learned that I was going to compete
>>>against several Alphas, I put extra effort in my program and actually
>>>managed to shave some percents off, no small achievement for a mature
>>>program. But this overclocking business completely defeats me and makes
>>>me aware that I have been wasting my time investing in my program
>>>instead of going all out for some hardware.
>>>Again the issue of fairness is brought up instead of the right one. Is
>>>it fair ? Well, it's within the rules (not sure about the overclocking
>>>though), and everybody does it, but it is not good for the event. Sure,
>>>as Bruce points out, the ICCA events are very much about logistics and
>>>organization. The point is  that they shouldn't be. Another point is
>>>that this hurts the sponsor since everyone who is someone brings a
>>>machine that is not the sponsor's.
>>there are many more issues than this however.  This has *never* been the
>>"PC World MicroComputer Chess Championship"...  we've had overclocked
>>MC68000-based machines (mephisto), bitsliced (homebrew) versions of the
>>6502, and overclocked X86 (Fidelity) machines for years.
>Fine, but
>a) we don;t have these 68000 overclocked machines now

last time I checked the Paris list, I saw PII/300's.  Isn't that a tad
faster than the K6/233??  So this problem still exists.  Isn't one of
the commercial programs bringing one of these?  That's ok but an alpha
not?  I miss the point...

>b) you never suffered competing against them since neither Bob nor Bruce
>have ever played in a WMCCC where these manufacturers machines appeared

I've run into this at ACM events.  Same idea.  CDC whipped everyone in
early 70's with the Cyber machines that were 10x faster than the next
machine in the tournaments.  We just kept working and trying to find a
machine to even things up...  we didn't complain...

>c) If you don't approve of the idea of these manufacturers getting an
>edge over a basically 'uniform' rest of field (as was the case in those
>days), then why are you doing exactly the thing you list you disapprove
>of then, now ? Because, without these very fast alphas, this Paris WMCCC
>would be, to all intents and purposes, a level playing field.

not from where I sit.  A PII/300 is not "roughly equal" to a K6/233.  A
hand-coded assembly engine optimized for this is an even bigger edge.  I
wrote crafty specifically to (a) be portable; (b) to take advantage of
bit machines.  So it's ok for Fritz to hand-code and tune and show up
a faster processor?  I'd bet I am no faster than him if I were to run on
the 766 mhz machine.  Maybe not even as fast...

>That it is not a level playing field now is pretty much a Bob/Bruce
>issue. I guess we can live with the odd K6 at 266 or 300. 300 to 233 is
>not the advantage the raw numbers imply (because of memory bandwidth). I
>can live with a tournament where 'effective' speeds vary by 20, 30 % or
>so. Its when you can get 2x or 3x by running oin these alphas that I cry

your counting is way off.  Multiple PII/300's, *four* programs running
an alpha.  Maybe more.  Two years ago there were Sparcs entered that
faster than the Intel machines of the time.  It is *not* just Bruce and
I got interested in faster hardware when it became apparent that we had
to remain competitive...

>>Each of these
>>architectures offers different features.  Now on to the alpha...
>>If you go back to the beginning of my work on Crafty, which dates back
>>exactly 3 years ago, now, you know that one of my specific goals for
>>"experiment" was to target development for a 64bit architecture, such as
>>Cray *or* the alpha.  Most of you have written your programs optimized
>>16/32 bit words.  I wrote mine optimized for 64 bit words.  It doesn't
>>reasonable to me that Crafty should have to be handicapped by having to
>>on a non-optimal architecture, "just because everyone else is."  So that
>>point 1:  a program ought to run on the architecture it is designed for.
>So why not run it on a Cray then ?
>Because that's outside the rules.
>You're just going outside the spirit in order to get an advantage. And
>no mean advantage either. Look, Bob, I want to see, and I suspect others
>want to see, a tournament where the software gets judged; not one where
>some people have manoeuvred or bought themselves a massive hardware

I'm game.  Get the programmers together in Paris.  See if everyone wants
this to be a uniform platform event.  I don't mind either way.  If most
want a uniform platform event, then approach the ICCA and recommend it.
The ones that don't like it can play somewhere else.  But I'd want it to
be uniform for *everyone*, and not *most*.  IE Fritz runs on what we run
on... so does genius, rebel, hiarcs, CSTal, etc...

>> I
>>don't know of any way to "equalize" the alpha and the X86...  it depends
>>the program.  Bruce gets 1.8x faster on his 533 than on the P6/200,
>>seems to get exactly 2.5X faster on a 500mhz machine than on the P6
>>on recent tests.  That's because I'm designed to pump 64bit words
>>while Bruce is not.
>So you guys want to win at all costs. Makes much of the optimisation and
>work of all the other guys running on K6's seem a little futile, doesn't
>it ?

depends on where you look.  What about the 3 years *I* have spent
a program that takes advantage of 64 bit architectures?  So I throw all
optimizing out, so that your optimizations give you an edge because of
architecture you have optimized for?  And that is somehow supposed to
me feel that this is somehow "fair"???

>>Second, alphas are *not* expensive.  They can be had for under $5000,
>>is less than I paid for my P6/200 18 months ago when I got it.  So this
>>*not* exotic hardware.  point 2.  It is readily available...
>Come on. Its a universtity research machine. The market for selling
>chess programs onto it is precisely zero. Its just a way to get a
>massive advantage by spending several thousand dollars, and,
>incedentally claiming to be an 'amateur' programmer. 'Amateur'
>programmers don't work like this, IMO.

you should talk to Polywell, Enorex, and multiple other vendors.  they
are selling all they can build.  I know of several at a couple of
here in Birmingham.  Since they run NT, and most microsoft products are
being ported, it is a viable platform that offers a higher level of
than the intel platform offers...

>>Next, the overclocking issue.  It was OK for Lang to overclock Mephisto,
>>was ok for Fedility to overclock chess challenger, and for Dave to use a
>>bit-slice (think it was him but I'm not sure) for what was back then
>>various things such as "superconny"...  So I don't buy the fact that
>>Bruce or Ernst have done something unconscionable here.  Crafty *might*
>>get a
>>766 machine.  It will definitely get a 500mhz machine.
>You and Bruce were never affected by overclocking Mephistos or anything
>else, because you WEREN'T at those tournaments. This is a criminal
>argument to bad propose actions now on the basis of bad actions in the

So we watch what goes on for 10 years, with nary a complaint from
but when *we* follow the same path, *WHAM* we get slapped for it?

Consistency is everything.  If you don't like this, lets change the
and we can all run on identical hardware.  But if one other program is
to use something different, I am too if I can find something I like...

>That was then. Now is now.
>Now  is pretty much a level playing field. You two are the guys with
>this year's hydraulic jacks rasing the ground by a 45 degree slope away
>from your own goal.

again it is not "you two".  there are at least 4 alphas, and 8 PII/300's
I know of so far, with a couple of "surprises" that very few know about
that will show up on these boxes.  You make it sound like we are the
two, but that's a false impression...

>>next the concept of "carrying a custom machine under our arms."  If you
>>at the last WMCCC, *many* toted their own machines and it raised no
>>I think part of this is caused by the "shrinking gap" between commercial
>>amateur programs.  But, in crafty's case, we aren't carrying *anything*
>>to the
>>tournament.  DEC is supplying us a machine.  Kryotech will if possible.
>>this sounds *just like* what AMD is doing as well.  I'm not buying an
>>at present.  I'm using one supplied by DEC.  Others are using PC's
>>supplied by
>>AMD or whomever.
>Yeah, yeah, yeah.
>Except all your programs (with a few exceptions of knowledge ones) are
>just the same, aren't they ? They all use recursive null move and and
>and and. They all do a little evaluation at the tips. Some do a bundle
>of pre-processing and very little evaluation at the tips. You all know
>and use the same tricks. None of you have got any real edge over the
>others. Any of these programs could win - it will be down to luck and
>machine speed.

what's this got to do with anything?  I didn't know there were rules
said "not more than N null-move programs are allowed."

>So two of you are going into an overkill on machine speed to try and
>Either by spending resources (not exactly amateurish), or by using
>contacts (also not exactly amateurish).

both of these are wrong.  I spent *nothing*.  I bought myself a P6/200
for my home machine that everyone here uses.  I have a P6/200 in my
I've been using this machine for 1.5 years and paid 5500 bucks for it
year.  The machine in my house I bought for 2000 bucks.  I did *not*
the alpha arrangements.  Jason Deines is gong to Paris to operate
He and I have been "internet friends" for a year or longer.  He took it
upon himself to call Digital Marketing, and pursue a faster machine.  He
knew *no one* there.  Neither did I.  So there were no special contacts,
just some money invested on phone calls.  You could have done the same
if you wanted, with the same success we had most likely...

>Its really as simple as that, isn't it ?
>May the best man win :(
>>Somehow I get a sense of "those damned rich amateurs
>>vs us
>>poor commercial programmers" and I simply don't "get it."  I'm not rich.
>I think I'll wait until after Paris to open up the issue of full-time
>paid academic work on computer chess being classed as 'amateur'. You
>know as well as I do the numbers of careers in academia dependent on
>computer chess programming. The numbers of contracts given out for
>research including creation of programs or testing the B***** algorithm;
>and the empires built on it.

You are taking the wrong angle here.  I am not a "full-time chess
person."  I work on Crafty mainly from 9pm to 1am every night.  I
do many other things during the day, from teaching, to running a
large computer science network/lab, to doing research in various
project areas like genetics, parallel programming, data mining and
other things.  Computer Chess has *never* been anything but a part-time
fun project for me.  Sorry, but I'm not Hans Berliner, nor the DB guys.
I wish I could do it full-time, but I don't...  so your point has *zero*
merit when applied to me.

>Some of these people are doing just as well, if not better, than the
>guys working away at home and selling their programs. IMO there is not a
>lot of difference between academic commercials and commercial

for the "difference" just ftp to and see what
you find there.  "the light will come on" and illuminate the difference.
Then read and this message board, and watch at
who gives real details and data.  Again the difference will be apparent.

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