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Subject: Knowledge is not elegant.

Author: Don Dailey

Date: 10:50:19 06/14/98


I think a knowledge based approach to computer chess is not elegant at
all.  However I use  it because I  do not see a  better  approach.  My
program  keeps accumulating more and more  knowledge and seems to keep
improving as a result of it.  I'm forced to  use this ugly brute force
technique because I do not know a better way.

At the  rate we are going with  ram prices plummeting and our computer
memories getting larger and larger, we may someday have as much memory
in our  computers  as  humans have in   their  heads.   Already  chess
programs use many megabytes  of memory, and if  we continue  this ugly
trend toward modeling the human brain we will soon have chess programs
requiring huge amounts of memory.  This is not a pleasing development
at all and is so wasteful.

The culmination of all  of this might  be the  32 man database.   This
will be a sad day   indeed when a  simple table  lookup gives you  the
right  answer  in every position.   Then  our  programs will play like
super humans, having instant and perfect intuition in every position.

My program used to have some clever rules to play king and pawn versus
king correctly.   I now  have  a database,   but the  two  are exactly
equivalent and both return the  right answer every time.  The  program
plays the ending perfectly, just like most strong humans do.  In fact,
it's better than the way humans do it because humans use a combination
of search and knowledge.  Maybe it will be  more human that us because
everyone knows humans shouldn't use  a search, only stupid programs do
this.

- Don



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