Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: The superior Rybka chess knowledge

Author: Frank Wies

Date: 08:17:20 01/22/06

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Reverse engineering is not illegal. There are firms in the US that reverse
engineer EVERY semiconductor device and software product that is produced,
including old designs with new features like Pentium and Athlon. They are paid
by companies like Intel, AMD and Microsoft to name a few.

What is illegal is using that knowledge to bring out directly or indirectly
competitive products that substantially use the same code or structures to
execute the same or similar functions and the original code. If you have ever
wondered why the big companies are obsessed with patents it is because
occasionally they violate these rules and when they are caught and a lawsuit is
filed, the usual outcome is that they countersue and it is settled out of court
by cash and trading patents by each party. Every one of these large companies
has a project or two that is in the gray area!

I was personally involved with a company whose CEO went to state prison in CA.
He ended up in San Quentin. The CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, TJ Rodgers saw the
EXACT same code in the new CAD tool that this company was selling and sent a
note to the CEO of Cadence Design Systems who prosecuted this guy without mercy!

The only way to get around this law is to produce a competitive product in a
"cleanroom" environment and write code from scratch, that does not have any of
the above noted violations. This happens all the time in the semiconductor
business but it requires very careful documentation in order to prevent an
extended stay in the local state prison.

Dr. Hyatt's post is correct, and based on the competitive nature of man, I don't
think that it is unethical to study Rybka for any purpose. This process is
leading to better, faster and more intelligent chess engines and players.


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