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World's Best Chess Engine Outlawed and Disqualified

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the cheaters-never-win-more-than-4-times dept.

AI 315

An anonymous reader writes "Rybka, the winner of the last four World Computer Chess Championships, has been found guilty by a panel of 34 chess engine programmers of plagiarizing two open-source chess engines: Crafty and Fruit. The governing body of the WCCC, the International Computer Games Association, is even demanding that Rybka's author — the international chess master and MIT graduate Vasik Rajlich — returns the trophies and prize money that he fraudulently won. Rybka will no longer be allowed to compete in the World Championships, and the ICGA is asking other tournaments around the world to do the same."

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The obvious question (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614270)

If he was just ripping off two other engines, why did his win?

Sounds like he at least made improvements to them, and isn't that what open source is supposed to be all about? In fact, the article even acknowledges "ICGA isn’t even disqualifying Rybka because it copies Fruit — rather, it’s simply upset that Rajlich claims his engine is original, and refuses to give credit where it’s due." Okay, so maybe he should have given the other coders credit, but why should that disqualify him from winning? He still won. He didn't cheat. He didn't steal the code from the other engines (it was open source). His biggest offense is denying the other coders credit.

I think he should have to share the prize with the other coders (since they contributed code to the final product). But it still doesn't take away from the fact that his fork won. It doesn't justify taking away the win, as if he had cheated. His engine is still the best, open source code and all.

And, nothing against FOSS, but why on earth would you even release code designed for competition as open source, BTW? Aren't you essentially unzipping your fly and telling you competitors all your secrets? Couldn't releasing the source code wait until after the software was "retired" from competition?

Re:The obvious question (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614298)

Because he committed plagiarism, plain and simple.

Re:The obvious question (3, Interesting)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614376)

Unfortunately, Rybka’s source code has never been available, so reverse engineering and straight-up move-evaluation comparison was used to analyze the originality of Rajlich’s chess engine.

I don't see how anyone can claim plagiarism if they haven't seen source code.

Re:The obvious question (3, Interesting)

devnull17 (592326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614428)

The same way that Google caught Bing ripping off search results a while ago: find some idiosyncratic behaviors (e.g. bugs) that serve no practical purpose and are highly unlikely to end up in two independent projects, and demonstrate the same weirdness in each.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614748)

The reason that Bing got those search results is because Google installed the Bing toolbar which tells you in the EULA that is does such things. The Google toolbar does the exact same thing. Funny that part gets left out during most retellings.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614822)

No they caught them by installing the bing toolbar, bing was obtaining the results by the rights the users signed away in the EULA. Users do not have the rights to sign away the results to googles search, the users queries are fair game, but the results google gives aren't. If I signed my rights away to Microsoft to allow someone to plant cameras and microphones in my house and use the results in advertising, and I listen to my Metallica CD, does that give Microsoft the rights to use Metallica songs in their next commercial?

Re:The obvious question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614472)

My thoughts exactly, especially by move comparison. If I and Kasparov make the same moves in the same situations, am I guilty of stealing his strategies? Besides, if the engine really is stolen from both, how can such a comparison be made without looking at its actual logic? Oh sometimes you use Kasparov's strategy and other times you use Carlson's... You must be stealing from both! Or maybe I have a new strategy that built on theirs.

Re:The obvious question (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614548)

FTFA:

To come to this rather epic and libelous conclusion, the ICGA assembled a 34-person panel of programmers who have competed in past championships to analyze Rybka. Unfortunately, Rybka’s source code has never been available, so reverse engineering and straight-up move-evaluation comparison was used to analyze the originality of Rajlich’s chess engine. The panel unanimously agreed that newer versions of Rybka are based on Fruit — and worse, that the early beta versions were based on Crafty, another open-source chess engine.

So in other words:
- They empaneled as the "jury" a bunch of assholes who were predisposed to want Rajlich banned from competition (he kept beating them, four competitions in a row).
- They based their decision on "move evaluation", a decidedly touchy subject given that in any Chess situation, it should be theoretically possible to find an optimal move and the more optimal the engines, the more optimal moves they'll make.

So, people with a motive to try to force Rajlich into a no-win situation got a chance to... hey look, a no-win situation!

It’s a tricky situation, though: with Rybka now outlawed from the WCCC, and with the ICGA asking other tournaments to block its entry, the only real way Rajlich and the rest of the Rybka team can clear their names is to show their source code — a financially untenable move. In short, Rybka is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

ICGA fucked up royally. What they SHOULD have done is demanded a closed-doors, clean-room evaluation of the Rybka source code. Instead, they're playing the "burn him at the stake" card, banning him from ever competing again and demanding he "come clean" when for all they know, his source is original and just plays better chess than the other, also-highly-optimized (and likely to make the same "optimal moves" on basic chess theory for the most part) competitors.

Re:Come Clean (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614652)

What if someone made it financially tenable for him to show his code?

"Oh. You did in fact innovate. Okay, we're sorry. But we won't take back the reputation tsunami we unleashed on you."

Anyone see parallels with the whole DHS theme of accuse first and question later?

Re:The obvious question (2)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614660)

Or he can get a lawyer and sue them for defamation and/or libel if what they are claiming isn't true. If it isn't, I am sure that he is already talking to a lawyer if there is no basis in the claim.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614714)

Indeed. Let's hope he has more money than the people accusing him. Justice goes to he with deeper pockets.

It's why innocent men often settle out of court.

Re:The obvious question (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614692)

- They empaneled as the "jury" a bunch of assholes
Ad hom

who were predisposed to want Rajlich banned from competition (he kept beating them, four competitions in a row).
I know a lot of competitors and they don't want people who beat them banned.
Idle speculation and ad homs help nothing.

"except it's not a financially tenable move."

They could get a third party to analyze and compare.
And there are striking similarities in behavior.
Also, why are you overlooking the fact that they reverse engineered it and found similarities?

"and likely to make the same "optimal moves" on basic chess theory for the most part"
by your argument, opening moves in chess would have been the same for hundreds of years.

straight shooter with upper management written all (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614300)

Taking credit for others work is just part of the job!

Re:The obvious question (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614348)

His biggest offense is denying the other coders credit.

Isn't that enough?

Re:The obvious question (5, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614358)

He didn't steal the code from the other engines (it was open source).

If he refused to disclose that he used open source code then he most likely violated the terms of the open source license and therefore did indeed cheat. Open Source [wikipedia.org] is not the same as Public Domain [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The obvious question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614412)

Get over yourself. Open source is still for losers.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614454)

Google: Total assets $57.851 billion (2010)

Right.

Re:The obvious question (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614498)

Going to the Rybka web site www.rybkachess.com there does not seem to be a way to download the source code, which would be required for releases under the GPL, assuming there is validity to the claim that he's copied other open source efforts.

Re:The obvious question (2)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614662)

If he doesn't distribute the binary, he needn't release the source.

Re:The obvious question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614806)

More to that, under the GPL you're under no obligation to put source code on your website, no matter what Slashdotters might pretend. You're under the obligation to make the source code freely available. No mention of massive DOWNLOAD SOURCE CODE HERE FOLKS YES YOU SAW THAT HERE!!!!!! links splattered across your website. No need to have a website at all. Just that if someone contacts you asking for the source code, you have to provide it.

Sure, maybe I'd email this guy and ask for the source code and he'd tell me to fuck myself. If he's used GPLd code, he's then in breach of the license. Or if I emailed him and he said "Sure, these are the portions of code based on GPLd code" and sent it through to me, he'd be fine (assuming he's telling the truth).

Re:The obvious question (2)

Vario (120611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614856)

On the Rybka website you can buy the current version of either Rybka 4 for 36 Euros or Deep Rypka 4 for 65 Euros.

If these downloads contain any of the stolen code in their binaries this definitely counts as distribution.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614722)

Only if he was distributing it, and then only to the people that he distributed it to.

Re:The obvious question (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614708)

Is it in the rules of these competitions that entries shall conform to the terms of software licenses?

If so, ban the cheater. (After establishing his code does in fact incorporate code from other sources and that he has violated the terms of the license on that code.)

If not, sounds like the situation Moryath described above. He was too good, so a few spoiled brats are taking their chess sets and going home.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614874)

Is it in the rules of these competitions that entries shall conform to the terms of software licenses?

If so, ban the cheater. (After establishing his code does in fact incorporate code from other sources and that he has violated the terms of the license on that code.)

If not, sounds like the situation Moryath described above. He was too good, so a few spoiled brats are taking their chess sets and going home.

Except of course he could comply with the OS license (assuming it's GPL'd) without any acknowledgment as long as he doesn't distribute it.

So I agree with you, unless the rules stipulated 100% original code, what's the issue other than he was better at refining code than the others who had eh same code available?

Re:The obvious question (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614732)

If he refused to disclose that he used open source code then he most likely violated the terms of the open source license

So, is the International Computer Games Association an organization to promote OSS?

And is the World Computer Chess Championship about finding the most powerful chess computer or promoting open source software?

I'm not familiar with either organization, so I'm not sure. I don't understand what "cheating" means in this particular case. If it was found that Viswanathan Anand had learned the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense (which he used to win the 2008 championship) from a magazine that he had copied illegally from a public library, would he be stripped of his title?

Do the rules of the computer chess federations require that all EULAs are observed and that all licenses are strictly followed? Can a title be pulled due to a patent dispute? What if the EULA on the operating system is not strictly obeyed?

"Cheating" is a very complicated concept when it comes to computer chess. I'm not sure if it can even apply, and I'm certainly not sure if a loser can claim that a winner cheated because he used his (obviously inferior) code.

The only fair way to do it, it seems to me, would be to require everyone to use open source, free code. Nothing proprietary allowed.

Re:The obvious question (5, Informative)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614798)

Cheating, in this case, means violating the rules of the championship:

18th WORLD COMPUTER CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT RULES

2. Each program must be the original work of the entering developers. Programming teams
whose code is derived from or including game-playing code written by others must name all
other authors, or the source of such code, in the details of their submission form

Whether he improved on them is irrelevant (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614360)

What is relevant is whether or not he had permission to use that code, which he obviously did not.

Re:Whether he improved on them is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614436)

The source is open. Anyone has permission to use the code.
Dumbass.

Re:Whether he improved on them is irrelevant (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614452)

I don't think you understand what open source means... Especially once you add Microsoft into the mixture.

Re:Whether he improved on them is irrelevant (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614476)

You don't have permission to use code in any way you see fit unless you have a license to do so. In the same way, I have several dvds, but I don't have permission to post them all over the Internet.

Re:Whether he improved on them is irrelevant (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614872)

Your house is unlocked. Anyone can use it. Dumbass.

Open Source - "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means"

Just because something is released under an open source license doesn't mean anyone can copy it. Copyright doesn't go away just because you release something under an open source license.

Re:The obvious question (0)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614362)

Claiming your engine is original when it is not is not only unethical, but also a violation of the license. Even the BSD license forbids such things - you'll notice, somewhere buried deep inside, OS X will admit to using parts of FreeBSD.

Re:The obvious question (0)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614626)

They aren't buried that deep, even the manpages in OSX have BSDisms everywhere.

Re:The obvious question (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614370)

Same reason Reggie Bush had to give back his Heisman and USC had to give back their National Championship Trophy... politics.

Re:The obvious question (5, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614382)

Nothing wrong with reusing other people's work with permission. But claiming that you made it (i.e. plagiarizing) isn't.

Also, Fruit 2.1 was released as GPL 2. Rybka is not, so it's a violation of copyright. And Crafty's license also doesn't permit the way Rybka used its source.

Re:The obvious question (1)

toli (1080805) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614850)

Where's the license for Crafty? I checked the website and the source code, and i can't find the word "license" anywhere at all... It's still unethical to use someone else's code without giving them credit, but I am not sure if he has violated the license if the license itself cannot be found.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614404)

If he violated the license terms of the software he used, he didn't have the rights to use the software he submitted for the compitition, therefore his entry was invalid.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614422)

Also, Rybka is a commercial product, so if it's used open source stuff, it has violated the GPL.

Bad, bad, bad.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614432)

Copyright and plaigarism are two different things. Even if you expand upon and improve other peoples ideas, it's plaigarism if you do not credit them.

Re:The obvious question (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614488)

Due to the whole derivative works clause that'd still be a matter of copyright as well.

Re:The obvious question (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614446)

He didn't even do that, he combined two separate opensource engine making one better engine. As long as he follows the licence terms for the engines, there is nothing wrong with what was done. Now if the licence said there must be attribution then there is a problem.

Re:The obvious question (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614578)

At least one of the engines is GPL. Rybka is not. Ipso facto, there is copyright violation occurring.

He did not combine them. (3, Informative)

HanClinto (621615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614870)

He didn't even do that, he combined two separate opensource engine making one better engine.

According to the allegations, he did not combine two open-source programs into a super-bot. They claim that the current version of his bot (Rybka) is a copy of Fruit, and an earlier version of his software was a copy of Crafty.

As you said, he closed-sourced them and claimed them as his own without giving attribution -- thereby breaking the software licenses of at least one of them (Fruit), which is GPL.

Re:The obvious question (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614490)

Agreed!

Re:The obvious question (3, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614492)

He didn't steal the code from the other engines (it was open source). His biggest offense is denying the other coders credit.

Well, it seems that Fruit [fruitchess.com] is open-source in the sense that people can look at the codebase, but it is not FOSS. The license text (see, e.g. readme in this tarfile [fruitchess.com] ) says:

All right reserved. Fruit and PolyGlot may not be distributed as part of any software package, service or web site without prior written permission from the author.

Indeed it looks like a commerical product that you are meant to pay for. Rajlich's engine is closed-source and also commercial [rybkachess.com] . He is not making his code available, so even if Fruit were, say, released under the GPL, he would be in violation of the license. But in fact Fruit is "all rights reserved" so if Rajlich took code from it then he is blatantly violating copyright, and thus breaking the law.

I would think that the competition has a blanket ethics rule that says that you cannot win by breaking the law. So Rajlich, if he did indeed appropriate code, doesn't deserve the wins. (Yes, he obviously did ~something~ to improve upon Fruit, but he still cheated.)

Re:The obvious question (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614672)

Fruit was a GPLed program until and including version 2.1. The investigation panel had compared Rybka 1.0 beta to Fruit 2.1, then they took a look at previous and later versions, including Rybka 2.3.2a to establish a pattern behavior. You can read all that has been done in the report: http://www.chessvibes.com/plaatjes/rybkaevidence/Rybka_Investigation_report.pdf [chessvibes.com]

Re:The obvious question (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614792)

Of course, this is based on the assumption that he actually used the source from Fruit, which is pretty hard to actually verify when his source code is not available.

Re:The obvious question (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614536)

Many competitions have rules regarding dishonorable behavior. If he did use substantial amounts of open-source code without crediting the original authors as seems to be the case, that would be plainly dishonorable and thus grounds for disqualification.

As for the open source aspect, in this case a quick skim of the Fruity site seems to indicate (it's not very clearly worded) that it was initially open source during development and then went to a closed/commercial model after it had some wins under its belt. This makes sense to me if the developer started working on it as more of a personal challenge rather than for competition and then just ended up being good in competition.

On the point of telling your competitors your secrets, arguably Chrome and Firefox are competitors yet they're both fully open. If you're open source, your competitors may learn a trick or two from you but they might implement it in a completely different way. This may be better or worse. If they made different fundamental design decisions, they might not be able to make use of anything you did directly. If your main goal is to push the field forward and winning competitions is just a bonus, who cares if your competitors can see your code?

Oops. Crafty and Fruit, not Fruity (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614560)

Oops, my brain mashed up the two likely ripped off engines in to one. Crafty and Fruit, not Fruity.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614538)

Most open source licenses require that you give credit to the original authors. Failure to do so is no different that stealing proprietary code.

Re:The obvious question (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614700)

Sounds like he at least made improvements to them, and isn't that what open source is supposed to be all about?

Having open source also helps.
This guy has closed the source and sells the compiled result.

Why "Chess Engine" Programmers? (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614726)

First, there is the question of if he is falsely claiming credit. Second, is whether or not his is the best.

While there are nearly infinite moves in chess, there are not infinite ways of winning at chess. Last I heard, most systems use a scoring system to evaluate moves. And based on a final score tally, they make a decision. This is the "evidence" they have. But I would submit this to a group of non-chess playing programmers (who are unbiased as to who plays chess better).

Submitting the Fruit engine as the test base, compare it to the same unseen code of all programs, and let the programmers decide if ANY are copies of Fruit. Then, remove the blindfold and see if the one they all picked unanimously was Rybka.

If it can't pass a blind test, then the results have real credibility. Otherwise, yes, this is a witch hunt. The "found guilty by a panel of 34 chess engine programmers" sounds dubious. It doesn't take a "chess engine programmer" to find plagiarized code, it takes a master programmer. Knowing anything about chess engines is really just extraneous. It's not like they exist in a vacuum.

Re:The obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614802)

And, nothing against FOSS, but why on earth would you even release code designed for competition as open source, BTW? Aren't you essentially unzipping your fly and telling you competitors all your secrets? Couldn't releasing the source code wait until after the software was "retired" from competition?

Maybe the software would come out stronger if it didn't need to rely on obscurity? The information security industry seem to more or less agree on this.

Re:The obvious question (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614836)

come out stronger if it didn't need to rely on obscurity

Yeah, that's a great idea when applied to cryptography. Not so much when you're talking trade secrets.

I have the plagerized end game... (1)

slashpot (11017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614302)

...in my pants.

Best chess engine (3, Interesting)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614310)

No Rybka, but Houdini:

http://www.cruxis.com/chess/houdini.htm [cruxis.com]

Rybka/Houdini played a 40-game match recently, and Houdini won by a wide margin of 23.5-16.5. You can see the match here:
http://livechess.chessdom.com/site/ [chessdom.com] (Check for TCEC S1 Elite Match)

Re:Best chess engine (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614694)

To be honest, since the advent of computers in chess I lost most of my interest - even in human tournaments. Every top player does lots of preparation by computer analysis these days. If I want to see some interesting and creative games, I usually grab a commented tournament book from the 20s or so, whenever I get my hands on one.

Re:Best chess engine (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614838)

Houdini is based on another open-source engine (Ippolit / RobboLito), which are based on reverse engineering Rybka, which is, well, see the original statement (the article is hopelessly biased and gets some facts wrong).

It's a mess.

This is very easy to verify (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614338)

If the author still claims his software is original, he should release the source code to the panel under an NDA strictly for the purposes of evaluation.

NDA's dont' mean jack **** (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614486)

Many people choose not to disclose their inventions and keep them a trade secret. This is done for a good reason. Disclosure, even under an NDA, doesn't guarantee it won't get disclosed to those you don't want to disclose it to.

In this case we have a panel of 34 programming chess players. Would you want anyone of that group to see your code if you want to keep it away from programming, chess-playing people?

Re:This is very easy to verify (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614518)

If the author still claims his software is original, he should release the source code to the panel under an NDA strictly for the purposes of evaluation.

Except that would open the members of the panel up to potential future claims that they plagiarized from Rybka. They should have an independent third-party, one that does not write chess engines, audit the three software programs under NDA and return an analysis of how likely it is that Rybka includes code from the other engines (a la SCO vs. IBM.)

Re:This is very easy to verify (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614740)

Until this third party panel, now equipped with knowledge of the inner workings of three competitive chess engines, develops the most powerful chess engine known to man! ...And then gets charged with plagiarism.

Re:This is very easy to verify (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614768)

According to the article the panel is actually made up of his competitors, past and present. An NDA won't cut it (certainly wouldn't for me anyway). They should have at least given him a more impartial jury.

Rybka ... Or Skynet? (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614344)

Now that it isn't distracted by chess this poor little computer will have nothing else to do except plot its revenge against man.

Re:Rybka ... Or Skynet? (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614386)

Oddly enough, the word "Rybka" in Indo-Ukranian translates as "Net of the Sky."

Re:Rybka ... Or Skynet? (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614562)

I know you were joking, but for the record, if I remember my Russian, "rybka" is "little fish."

Re:Rybka ... Or Skynet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614594)

Oddly enough, the word "Rybka" in Indo-Ukranian translates as "Net of the Sky."

hmm not too sure of the validity of this statement. I got "little fish" in czech

Proper Punishment (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614374)

The correct course of action is erasure, following by enlightenment retraining.

Re:Proper Punishment (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614604)

"The correct course of action is erasure"

Always I want to be with you, and make believe with you, and live in harmo... oh, wait, wrong Erasure.

Should be easy to prove innocence (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614380)

TFA points out that Rajlich could exonerate himself by showing the source code, but then says that this isn't possible:

It’s a tricky situation, though: with Rybka now outlawed from the WCCC, and with the ICGA asking other tournaments to block its entry, the only real way Rajlich and the rest of the Rybka team can clear their names is to show their source code — a financially untenable move. In short, Rybka is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

This doesn't really hold up. Yes, Rajlich is trying to sell his software, so he can't open-source it to the world. But to exonerate himself he doesn't have to release the source-code to the world; he simply needs to arrange for the source code to be shown to the expert panel. As long as they can both confirm that: (1) the provided source compiles to the binary used in competition, and (2) there is no substantial overlap between the provided source and other known codebases, then he's in the clear. The expert panel doesn't have to retain copies of the source code beyond the review period (all copies could be destroyed).

So, really, it should be possible for Rajlich to demonstrate the originality of his code without releasing it or decreasing his commercial opportunities. The fact that he hasn't done this is strange. In that sense, it sounds to me like the ICGA made the right decision here.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614430)

I have an honest question. I'm going to assume the program is compiled into an executable, and not a scripting language like python. How do they determine if code from an open source program was used from the binary program?

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614524)

From what I gathered from glancing at TFA, the panel was looking at algorithmic similarities, not necessarily code ones. In those cases, there is no need to have the source, since the algorithms will naturally be visible through the program's execution.

From this point on, Rajlich will need to prove that he did not in fact copy Fruit or Crafty, though this may be hard to do so if the above is to be trusted (ie he could've made his own code but used the exact same behaviors by simply looking at how Fruit worked). He'd most likely need to rewrite all offending parts from scratch, and then provide full source to the panel so that they could analyze it. Validation can be done through a binary comparison of Rajlich's executables against the panel's own, built from the given source code. There may be differences, but they should be small enough.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614756)

I have an honest question. I'm going to assume the program is compiled into an executable, and not a scripting language like python. How do they determine if code from an open source program was used from the binary program?

Compile it with debugging symbols and compare to the open source program compiled with debugging symbols and compare the symbol tables. How odd that so many functions are exactly the same length and have exactly the same arguments. Run both thru a profiler and notice any identical control flow loops. I suspect there's a way to ask the GCC optimizer to compare the psuedocode before it gets assembled. Heck, just rub the raw binaries against each other and look for matches. It would be hilarious to ask/force him to compile and/or link mixmaster style

Ask a "windows security researcher" dude how he identifies a file with a virus. If he says, "use norton" then fire him and repeat. Eventually you'll find someone who knows how to use the binary equivalent of "substr".

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614778)

How do they determine if code from an open source program was used from the binary program?

This would be determined by isolating a version of the executable used in competition and then asking the developers to run through a procedure using only the source code to create an exact duplicate of the competition binary. Comparing that the 1's and 0's in two different executables are identical is fairly trivial.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614622)

He doesn't even have to show the code to the expert panel (who are all competitors). He could agree with the panel an independent arbitrator, and show it to them. I don't think they'd have to be experts in the field of chess programming to spot copied code, and it shouldn't matter if he's copied algorithms.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614832)

spot copied code, and it shouldn't matter if he's copied algorithms.

Isn't copied algorithms the stereotypical way to catch programming school plagiarizers? Why look, one smart-ish guy, and his three moron drinking buddies, all had exactly the same picket fence error in exactly the same place... What a coincidence? This does not work on tiny toy programs, but something big enough to win at chess is probably big enough.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614630)

But to exonerate himself he doesn't have to release the source-code to the world; he simply needs to arrange for the source code to be shown to the expert panel.

Alternately, they could deploy several classic crypto solutions, which means they're easy to half ass and screw up.

There's a couple good crypto algorithms to hash the unknown and known source code, compare the hashes, etc. No need to let anyone directly read the unknown source code.

To prove he's not handing you hashes of /dev/random you can compile the code, see if it matches his binary.

Besides simple hash comparisons, there are some digital cash algos oriented around detecting double spending... You could probably hack that into working.

Run the comparison on a neutral ground virtual machine with no mass storage just a huge amount of ramdisk. Tell both sides how to prepare the VM (probably via a script) and trade hashes of parts of the VM with each other to verify neither side modified anything.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614632)

But to exonerate himself he doesn't have to release the source-code to the world; he simply needs to arrange for the source code to be shown to the expert panel.

"All but your four fastest you mean." An expert panel composed of his top competitors. Hmmm. What could go wrong?

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614656)

You realize who the panel is right? "found guilty by a panel of 34 chess engine programmers". They are his competitors, and you cant force them to 'destroy' the copies of the good ideas they will keep in their heads after reading.

Also, I'm no lawyer but I looked at both website and they don't contain a license of any kind. One is labeled as freeware, the other just says 'click here to download' and the files have no notices. So it sounds to me like he is in compliance with the requirements of the authors. I don't know what the rules of the contest are he submitted to but he certainly shouldn't have any legal problems with selling the code. I think this is a great example of what open source is all about, sharing innovations. Its a shame he doesn't want to share his, but the people who released the code chose not to license it.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614704)

Yeah, TFA sounds pretty seriously confused on that point. Commercial software sourcecode is, in part or in full, shown to Customers Who Matter all the time. Sometimes, it is even made publicly available, but under a license that forbids much of anything other than inspecting it. It isn't rocket surgery.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614782)

Yeah, but the expert panel in this case includes many of his competitors. It would be like Apple being forced to show MS their source code, with the promise that MS wouldn't steal it.

Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614842)

The expert panel is comprised of his competition. They are the very people he wants to keep from seeing his code.

The only way this could be done is with an impartial third party audit... but who pays for it?

Not again! (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614398)

It's the Turk [wikipedia.org] all over again! Will these chess computer scandals never end?!

Re:Not again! (1)

GJSchaller (198865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614602)

Don't you mean it's this Turk [wikipedia.org] ?

Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614438)

Since Rybka's source was not released, let alone compared, they sure seem sure of their conclusions.

Also, the article states that they "unfairly cheated" but, aside from not disclosing the alleged plagiarized work, why is that "unfair". Or is the use of the open source codes considered "unfair".

Re:Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614606)

The rules of the International Computer Games Association that hosts the championship state that the program must be an original work of the developers. If the program is derived from other sources, they must be named together with the original authors.

Re:Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614776)

If the panel hasn't seen the code, how do they know it was derived from anything else?

Re:Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614862)

Reverse engineering.

Re:Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614638)

Also, the article states that they "unfairly cheated" but, aside from not disclosing the alleged plagiarized work, why is that "unfair". Or is the use of the open source codes considered "unfair".

More interesting is how does one cheat fairly?

Re:Hmmm...no comparison of source codes (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614640)

What aside is there? It's fairly clear that his claiming the work of others as his own is the issue.

Here's a quote from the an open letter announcing the ban.

"Each program must be the original work of the entering developers. Programming teams whose code is derived from or including game-playing code written by others must name all other authors, or the source of such code, in their submission details."

Open source is fine - so long as credit is given.

Crafty isn't open source software (Fruit 2.1 is) (1)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614516)

Crafty is not open source software, though its license has similarities to an open source software license. Crafty is for "personal use only", which means that it fails the Open Source Definition [opensource.org] criteria "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor".

Crafty's main.c file says: "All rights reserved. No part of this program may be reproduced in any form or by any means, for other than your personal use, without the express written permission of the authors. This program may not be used in whole, nor in part, to enter any computer chess competition without written permission from the authors. Such permission will include the requirement that the program be entered under the name "Crafty" so that the program's ancestry will be known."

Fruit up to 2.1 is open source software (GPL) [arctrix.com]

Oblig. (4, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614530)

Checkmate?

I RTFA and have a question about Deep Blue (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614624)

The article makes the bold claim that "IBM's Deep Blue cheated to beat Garry Kasparov" the link they give mentions merely that Kasparov made such an accusation, and that the accusation was repeated in a documentary. On what basis did he make such a claim?

Re:I RTFA and have a question about Deep Blue (1)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614762)

On the basis that he lost. Really. Kasparov thought Deep Blue was making moves that were too 'human-like,' and therefore it must have been fed moves from human players.

You see similar reactions from poker players. Humans don't want to believe that computers are capable of bluffing convincingly, but even simplistic alpha-beta poker bots are perfectly able to do it.

Re:I RTFA and have a question about Deep Blue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614764)

The consensus in the computer chess community is that Kasparov's claim doesn't hold any water. He complained about a specific move, arguing that a machine could not have come up with it, but several programs at the time also selected that move.

Whining, chess-playing, sore losers! (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614628)

Maybe chess-playing people just don't like losing to computers. After all, the article mentioned by the OP states that:

Not since IBM’s Deep Blue cheated to beat Garry Kasparov in 1997 has the world of computer chess been so uproarious!

As if it were a fact. Was this ever found to be the case? I thought it was only alleged by Kasparov and never proven.
Since the 34-person panel of chess-playing programmers never saw the source code to Rybka, yet still concluded that different versions were plagiarizer different open source codes, maybe the chess-playing community is a bunch of whining losers?

An interesting note is that the article doesn't state if any of the 34-person panel of chess-playing programmers contributed code to any of the allegedly plagiarized codes. There may be a conflict of interest here.

Re:Whining, chess-playing, sore losers! (1)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614784)

Humans haven't been able to compete against computers for quite a few years. Even a cheap netbook can plow through more levels of the game tree than Deep Blue could, and Deep Blue was even using custom hardware specifically designed for chess. It's not a simple case of a sore loser.

Re:Whining, chess-playing, sore losers! (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614858)

How the hell do you cheat at chess when you don't know what moves the other person is going to make? Unless Deep Blue made an illegal move, which Kasparov should have immediately caught.

I think Samuel Johnson said it best (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614728)

"Your [chess program] is both good and original; but the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good."
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