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Subject: Re: Couple of chess programming questions

Author: Dann Corbit

Date: 12:54:09 09/10/02

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On September 10, 2002 at 15:48:40, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:

>On September 10, 2002 at 13:11:02, Dann Corbit wrote:
>>On September 10, 2002 at 12:07:37, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
>>>>(3) Reading Aske Plaat's search & re-search paper, it really seems like mtd(f)
>>>>is something of a magic bullet.  But I note it seems that more programs don't
>>>>use it than do (for example Crafty).  What is wrong with mtd(f) which Plaat
>>>>doesn't say?
>>>There is nothing wrong with it. However a softwareprogram must have certain
>>>conditions to let it work well (in hardware other issues play a role)
>>>  a) it must be a static evaluation with a small granularity;
>>>     if pawn=32 it will work great, if pawn=1000 like in DIEP it won't
>>>     work at all, other things aren't interesting then.
>>I have found this to be true also with experiments, and the reason is obvious.
>>The MTD(f) algorithm basically does a binary search between two bounds (on
>>average -- it might be faster or slower in individual cases).  If the interval
>>varies from 3276700 to -327600 you have between 22 and 23 searches to resolve
>>it.  If the interval varies from  3276 to -3276 you have between 12 and 13
>>searches to resolve it.
>perhaps it is good to clarify one thing. As soon as a MTD search
>needs to use a binary form of search to get from value A to B, then
>mtd will fail of course.
>the advantage of mtd is that if you have a bound search at 0.01 which says:
>"it's more than 0.01" then you try 0.02. In this way you need only a
>few minimal windows to get from 0.01 to 0.03
>The statement of Rudolf is very clearly: "such minimal windows are
>very cheap", and looking to SOS i can only agree with him.
>A major problem is like bob says if you have a 0.3 difference.
>even with pawn = 100 and 0.3 being 30, that means you need 30 researches.
>If you jump binary, then the only advantage which MTD offers is gone directly.
>So going from 1000 to 1300 in DIEP that's 300 researches.

I think even worst case it won't do more than log2(interval) searches.  I
suppose it is possible for each search to refine the interval by only 1 unit,
but it seems incredibly improbable.

I would expect a window of 300 to take about 8 searches to resolve, on average.
Perhaps you tested with some pathological positions?  I have not seen behavior
that bad, but maybe I have not looked at the worst cases.

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