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Subject: Re: Rybka 1.0 Announcement

Author: Vasik Rajlich

Date: 07:49:02 12/05/05

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On December 05, 2005 at 10:18:43, Gerd Isenberg wrote:

>On December 05, 2005 at 04:44:36, Vasik Rajlich wrote:
>
>>Hello,
>>
>>Well, I am shocked by the speed of the computer chess community. There are now
>>200 requests for Beta versions of Rybka in my mailbox. Many of you made
>>interesting comments and asked all sorts of questions, but at the moment I am
>>really short of time and can't give personal responses to everyone. Some of
>>these questions are answered here.
>>
>>The first piece of good news is that Rybka Beta 1.0 will be available for free
>>download until midnight tonight (Dec 5) on Leo's website. Obviously this targets
>>the more hardcore members of the computer chess community - there are so many
>>here who give their time and share their ideas that I would be embarassed to do
>>anything else.
>>
>>However, I am now working on this project full time, and much as I would like to
>>just concentrate on the technical aspect, the truth is that there is now a
>>business to run. The first commercial release will be as plain as can be - Rybka
>>1.0 standalone UCI engine, no GUI, no book, no copy protection, no engine
>>capability not currently specified in the UCI protocol. The price will be 34
>>Euro. The original target date was Dec 16, but thanks to the incredible speed of
>>the CEGT team this has been moved up to ASAP :) Additional announcements are
>>forthcoming.
>>
>>While I hope that there are some sales of Rybka 1.0, the main goal here is to
>>prepare for a summer 2006 release. If things go as I envision, we'll offer an
>>engine-GUI combo which brings Rybka's chess knowledge to the user and makes
>>chess players wonder how they ever survived without it. Of course, some software
>>developers will tell you that when plans meet reality it is usually reality
>>which wins .. but in my book reality is a seven point underdog :)
>>
>>If any of you are interested in helping the Rybka project succeed, the following
>>are all useful areas of contribution:
>>
>>1) Comments, feedback, and CPU time for beta versions.
>>2) Purchase the full version of Rybka 1.0.
>>3) Get Rybka, and computer chess in general, "out there" into the world of chess
>>- articles, clubs, into the general chess consciousness.
>>
>>This last point is for me the biggest. The computer chess community has
>>tremendous expertise and knowledge, and computer chess is interesting and fun.
>>As programmers, we struggle with the question of what chess knowledge really is
>>in a much deeper and more interesting way than chess players do. A chess player
>>will learn something obvious about positional play, and never really stop to
>>inspect it - because as a human, he doesn't need to. On the other hand, when
>>your program is constantly rebeling against everything you taught it, or plays
>>worse with those last few bits of what you thought were knowledge, you end up
>>asking much tougher questions. So - for those with the ability and interest,
>>let's get out there and spread the word.
>>
>>I am also looking for a few people who will collaborate more closely on the
>>project. There are the usual computer chess things (opening book, tournament
>>operation, beta testing). In addition, the main event of the next four to six
>>weeks will be the addition of I hope two more software developers to the Rybka
>>team. I have of course a target list from my days as a student and developer,
>>but if you are talented, and interested in the project, please don't hesitate to
>>get in touch with me and we can discuss it further.
>>
>>Happy testing, and best regards,
>>Vas
>
>
>Hi Vas,
>
>wow, what great news - seems your bitboard baby has passed some imaginary
>limits. While Fabien teached us smart search with steady evaluation, your
>approach implies thinking bitboards in knowledge based implementaion of
>evaluation as well as quiescence detection.
>
>Congratulations and a very big success with Rybka!
>
>Gerd

Hi Gerd,

to tell the truth, I don't think board representation is all that important. I
flipped a coin my first few weeks of computer chess programming, and it said
bitboards. :)

BTW: are there any tricks for speeding up bitboards on 32 bit systems. I go from
166 knps to 104. I was thinking to somehow take advantage of the knowledge that
sometimes, a bitboard truly is two half boards, but it never gave any speed up.

I mean, instead of:

for (bb knights = Board.pieces [WhiteKnight]; knights; knights &= 1)
{
  unsigned long knight_sq;
  _BitScanForward64 (knights, &knight_sq);
  ...
}

something like:

for (unsigned int i=0; i<2; i ++)
{
  for (unsigned int half_knights = (unsigned int *)(Board.pieces [WhiteKnight])
+ i; half_knights; half_knights &= 1)
  {
    unsigned long knight_sq;
    _BitScanForward (half_knights, &knight_sq);
    knight_sq += i * 32;
    ...
  }
}

This was always slower. (I also tried unrolling it, I guess the loop body is too
big.)

If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them ..

Vas



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