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RE: [Bug-gnubg] Feature Request: Differential reporting of rolloutresult

From: Ian Shaw
Subject: RE: [Bug-gnubg] Feature Request: Differential reporting of rolloutresults
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2009 17:01:38 +0100

I'll just come back on this, since it bugs me. Your point of view is
certainly reasonable, so we may have to agree to disagree. 

RNG Options

However, I'll pose the question, "Why do we have a choice of RNG?"

It's not essential for backgammon; Snowie, JF and BgBlitz don't need
more than one, and I'll bet extreme gammon doesn't either.
The only reason can be to remove doubt that gnubg manipulates the dice.
I don't think there is much doubt that gnubg is honest among backgammon
players, therefore the reason for it's existence is gone.

I find the argument that we should keep it because it is already there a
very weak argument. Too many RNGs can be a bad thing.

It adds to the complexity of the code and the user interface, and
provides no real benefit. People regularly complain about the many
options in gnubg; simplifying this option would help in that regard.

 Differential reporting of rollout results

I suppose this is another matter of personal preference. 

I agree that the seed should still be displayed so that rollouts can be
duplicated, but why do we have to have the same information again and
again and again. I don't believe anyone avidly reads this information
for every time it is displayed. The most they will do is scan the
settings to see if there are changes.

I think that my proposal makes the scanning easier and the rollout
results clearer. Reducing the amount of context data makes the important
data - the rollout - more prominent. It makes it easier to compare roll
1 with roll 2, and so on, by bringing the text closer together, which is
the main point of any rollout.

By showing only the changes, it also makes the changes themselves easier
to spot.

-- Ian

> -----Original Message-----
> From: address@hidden 
> [mailto:address@hidden 
> On Behalf Of Myshkin LeVine
> Sent: 26 June 2009 13:39
> To: address@hidden
> Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] Feature Request: Differential 
> reporting of rolloutresults
> Hello All,
>            I disagree with Ian about both the condensation of 
> rollout results and about the removal of the Mersenne Twister 
> reference.
>         About repeated rollout settings: I personally do not 
> find it tedious to have to do a little bit of scrolling to 
> get through rollout reports. Having the settings listed for 
> each roll leaves no room for doubt as to what they are. If 
> someone not familiar with GnuBG rollouts reads the report or 
> if it is read at a future time the settings used will still 
> be clearly understood.
>         About the removal of the Mersenne Twister reference 
> which is really two issues: 1. Ian seems to be suggesting (He 
> can correct me if I misunderstood him) that all of the random 
> number generators other than the Mersenne Twister RNG should 
> be removed from GnuBG. I think that since the different 
> generators are already in place they should be left alone. 
> Having a selection to choose from cannot be a bad thing. 
> Sure, it seems that almost all rollouts seem to be run using 
> the Mersenne Twister RNG. The reason most rollouts with GnuBG 
> use the Mersenne Twister generator could be because that is 
> the default choice and no one changes it. If the present code 
> does not require a high level of maintenance if should be 
> kept. The most recent change appears to be three months ago 
> to the MD5 generator and longer for the others. 2. Obviously 
> if there is a choice of generators, rollouts must state which 
> of them is being used. However, even if the Mersenne Twister 
> generator is the only one available it would still be a 
> mistake to remove the reference to it in rollout reports. 
> Removing the reference includes removing the statement of the 
> seed used because only stating the seed would lead to 
> confusion as to what the RNG was. If I understand correctly, 
> the seed is stated so that if there is doubt about the 
> results the rollout can be re- created using the same seed. 
> You have to know what the generator is for the seed to be 
> meaningful. Even for the sake of completeness it is important 
> to state all of the rollout parameters.
>         That's just my two cents on the matter. Take care,
>                                                          Myshkin
> On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 6:39 PM, Ian Shaw<address@hidden>
> wrote:
> > I would like to see a more space-efficient report of 
> rollout results.
> > Currently, when you see web pages with gnubg rollout 
> results included 
> > (typically gamnonu or bgonline), an awful lot of space is taken up 
> > with repeated rollout settings. This entails a lot of scrolling and 
> > makes it difficult to read the actual results.
> >
> > I suggest only printing a parameter when it differs from the next 
> > trial DOWN the list, or is the last one on the list.
> >
> ---------cut ------------
> > In fact, I wouldn't be sad to see the Mersenne Twister reference 
> > disappear. I've never seen anyone post a rollout using 
> anything else. 
> > In the early days of gnubg, having lots of RNG's was a good idea in 
> > the interest of transparency. Nowadays, no serious user 
> (one likely to 
> > read a rollout) doubts that gnubg is honest, so there is 
> not really a 
> > need to provide the choice.
> >
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