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Re: current development

From: Timothy Y. Chow
Subject: Re: current development
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2019 14:07:45 -0500 (EST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.21 (LRH 202 2017-01-01)

On Thu, 5 Dec 2019, Joseph Heled wrote:
I had the same idea the day I heard they cracked go, but just saying something is a good idea is not helpful at all in my book.

Well, other people may have other books.

Also, it's my impression that many people *don't* think this is even a worthwhile idea to pursue. Backgammon is already "solved," is what they will say. It's true that "AlphaGammon" will surely not crush existing bots in a series of (say) 11-point matches. At most I would expect a slight advantage. But to me, that is the wrong way to look at the issue. I would like to understand superbackgames for their own sake, even though they arise rarely in practice. Furthermore, if we know that bots don't understand superbackgames, then the closer a position gets to being a superbackgame, the less we can trust the bot verdict.

Some years ago, Paul Weaver created a "backgame quiz" with some interesting backgame problems. Most were not what I would call superbackgames, though a couple were getting close. The only rollouts I ever saw anyone else do were with standard rollout settings. I have been running (eXtreme Gammon) rollouts with much stronger settings, and in at least one case I've gotten some noticeably different results. I think this is interesting. I also don't fully trust even the strong rollout settings that I'm currently using, and would welcome a bot that I would be more willing to trust.

This thread was asking about whether there is any current development of GNU. If someone poses that question, and nobody even mentions that "AlphaGammon" would be of interest, then the impression can be created that nobody cares about that. I want to combat that impression. So just because I'm not prepared to invest in the supply side of the equation doesn't mean that it's of no value to exhibit the existence of the demand side of the equation. In my book, at least.


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