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Checkers Solved, Unbeatable Database Created

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the does-that-mean-we-don't-need-to-play-anymore dept.

Classic Games (Games) 359

tgeller writes "My story on the Nature site announced that a team of computer scientists at the University of Alberta has solved checkers. From the game's 500 billion billion positions (5 * 10^20), 'Chinook' has determined which 100,000 billion (10^14) are needed for their proof, and run through all relevant decision trees. They've set up a site where you can see the proof, traverse the logic, and play their unbeatable automaton. '[Jonathan] Schaeffer notes that his research has implications beyond the checkers board. The same algorithms his team writes to solve games could be helpful in searching other databases, such as vast lists of biological information because, as he says, "At the core, they both reduce to the same fundamental problem: large, compressed data sets that have to be accessed quickly."'"

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Wow. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919185)

Wow. Reminds me of how awesome I thought I was when I was 7 years old and I solved Tic Tac Toe.

Re:Wow. (0, Redundant)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919847)

So if this system is really "unbeatable", what happens if you set it up to play against itself?

Re:Wow. (3, Informative)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919871)

According to TFA, a draw

The writing's been on the wall... (3, Informative)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919207)

...ever since the swelling of Chess's "opening book" began. They randomise starting back-rank positions now in some tournaments, to stave off the eventual "book death" that has already conquered checkers.

Re:The writing's been on the wall... (5, Interesting)

dprovine (140134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919655)

They randomise starting back-rank positions now in some tournaments, to stave off the eventual "book death" that has already conquered checkers.

I made up my own variation with randomness that I call Schrödinger's Chess [rowan.edu] .

Let me know if you try it out.

Re:The writing's been on the wall... (3, Informative)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919695)

For those that are interested, I think the parent is referring to Chess960 [wikipedia.org] .

Slashdot effect. . . (4, Funny)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919215)

They've set up a site where you can see the proof, traverse the logic, and play their unbeatable automaton.


Holy crap. . .you have any idea how badly their server is going to be slashdotted now? It's bad enough when its a php driven webpage but now you've just encouraged slashdotters to try a game or two against it. . .if the server crashes in the middle of a game is it considered a win for the human player?

Re:Slashdot effect. . . (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919361)

Holy crap. . .you have any idea how badly their server is going to be slashdotted now? It's bad enough when its a php driven webpage but now you've just encouraged slashdotters to try a game or two against it. . .if the server crashes in the middle of a game is it considered a win for the human player?

It's a little difficult to play when you can't even load the game...

Chess? (1)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919219)

How many gazillion positions are there for chess?

Re:Chess? (5, Informative)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919283)

RTFA: 10^46.

Re:Chess? (5, Funny)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919643)

you didn't answer the question. How many gazillion?

Re:Chess? (3, Funny)

justfred (63412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920019)

I think it depends; how many Brazilians are in a gazillion?

Re:Chess? (2, Funny)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920079)

42

Re:Chess? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19920081)

you didn't answer the question. How many gazillion?

Well, you are a fastisio!.....See? You're not the only one who can make up big words.

It's a draw (5, Informative)

elwinc (663074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919221)

The New York Times has the story too http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/science/19cnd-ch eckers.html?ref=science: [nytimes.com] . They claim the best you can do is draw against chinook in deterministic checkers. The Times points out that:

The new research proves that Chinook is invincible in the traditional game of checkers. But in most tournament play, a match starts with three moves chosen at random. In solving the traditional game, the researchers have also solved 21 of the 156 three-move openings, leaving a crack of hope for humans, at least for now.

Re:It's a draw (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919317)

They claim the best you can do is draw against chinook in deterministic checkers.
Ooooohhhh! Nondeterministic checkers!!

<clack....clack....clack>
"That's a inside giraffe, king me."

Re:It's a draw (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919777)

Ooooohhhh! Nondeterministic checkers!!

Well, if you read the article most tournaments start with three random moves, so it would be possible that some opening positions are win/lose instead of draw which would make it non-deterministic (but not fun, since the game is decided before you start to play).

Strange (3, Funny)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919403)

the only winning move is not to play...

Re:Strange (1)

punkass (70637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919691)

This is the quote I came in to see....thank you...

Re:Strange (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920101)

Is there any way to make it play itself?

skynet is coming... (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919225)

This coupled with the post the other day about the fully unmanned USAF drones should give rise to Skynet-esque systems in the next decade.

Cheers.

Re:skynet is coming... (2, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919255)

So all we have to do to crash the eventual skynet is move in a direction that isn't diagonal? This is going to be easy.

Re:skynet is coming... (2, Funny)

reytron (1093289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919327)

no, to crash it, you tell it to play against itself. then it realizes that in the game of thermonuclear warfare, there is no winner.

can non-intelligence make humans obsolete? (1)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919435)

Picture the following scenario - a system like this one can beat a human in any competition, simply because the system knows how to get the best result in any given situation. This doesn't make the system smarter than us, but it makes it more successful than us for a given task (in this case it is playing checkers).

Now, imagine there is a similar system in various structures, such as the military. At one point this dumb system [but with a huge knowledgebase] kicks our ass (simply because it can). Humans will go extinct, while this dumb system is now the only sign of civilization on the planet; the only problem is that the system has no learning capabilities and is not truly intelligent.

What I'm saying is: what protects us from being anihilated by such systems, except the fact that at the moment only some [non-critical] parts of the infrastructure are computerized, and that we can disable a system by powering it off?

Re:can non-intelligence make humans obsolete? (2, Insightful)

DavidShor (928926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919917)

The easiest way to keep "dumb" code from killing us is not to program them to do so. They could mutate their code and decide to kill us anyway, but at that point, they become "smart".

Re:skynet is coming... (1)

Bwana Geek (1033040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919779)

"King me if you want to live."

Re:skynet is coming... (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919789)

"King me if you want to live!"

Re:skynet is coming... (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920049)

why would unmanned USAF drones give a crap about playing checkers when they can bomb my face off from 50k feet above?

Flawed proof (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919237)

Now, far be it from me to criticize the research of a group that can manage to convince someone to give them a grant to play checkers with a computer all day, but their "proof" on that site is a little suspect.

When I click on the proof, all I get is a Java error saying "Unable to connect to server". While the inability to connect to the Checkers server may make it "Unbeatable" in a Wargames-esque "the only way to win is not to play" kind of way, it's kind of a cop-out.

We'll always have Go (4, Informative)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919259)

Since Go [wikipedia.org] always comes up in these discussions, I'll take this opportunity to point those curious about the game to some places to learn more about it:

http://playgo.to/interactive/ [playgo.to] , learn how to play the game in an interactive fashion.

http://361points.com/atarigo/ [361points.com] , play "capture" Go against a simple computer opponent.

http://www.gokgs.com/ [gokgs.com] , after you've learned the rules, play against others online worldwide.

http://www.godiscussions.com/ [godiscussions.com] , have more questions about the game? Ask them on this discussion board devoted to the game.

Checkers, Not Draughts (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919261)

From the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry:

The most popular forms are international draughts, played on a 10×10 board, followed by English draughts, also called American checkers that is played on an 8×8 board, but there are many other variants. Draughts developed from alquerque.[2]
Draughts would be a much much larger gamespace than Checkers. I noticed that draughts appeared in the tags of this story but it shouldn't.

Also, I've heard before that "it takes longer to learn to play checkers at the master level than it does chess. What checkers lacks in breadth, it makes up in precision and finality. [smithsonianmagazine.com] " I realize that puts me at risk of being modded as flamebait but I wonder if any other Slashdot reader can confirm or contest that.

Re:Checkers, Not Draughts (2, Informative)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919339)

The same article, in fact the same quoted paragraph states that American Checkers and British Draughts are the same, 8x8 board game. So calling this solution a solution to draughts isn't really that inaccurate.

Re:Checkers, Not Draughts (1)

tgeller (10260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919427)

10x10 draughts has a state-space of around 10^30, according to Dr. Schaeffer. (That was in the article's original draft -- no pun intended -- but was cut for space.)

Re:Checkers, Not Draughts (2, Interesting)

tgeller (10260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919551)

Here's a relevant quote from Bob Newell (editor of The Checker Maven [bobnewell.net] ) that didn't make it into the story:

"[Checkers is] a very finely balanced game, and a very subtle game. The subtleties of checkers are not very well appreciated by the average player. You play as a kid and someone always wins. In chess, differences are larger: In chess, you can make a mistake and still recover. In checkers, if you make a mistake, even a small one, you probably won't recover. People are fascinated by this game of minutiae, if you will. At a high level, at least two games out of three, no-one can gain that small advantage and so the game ends in a draw."

Re:Checkers, Not Draughts (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919591)

That is not necessarily a good thing in a tournament level game. What it means is it is much more difficult to recover from a situation where you are disadvantaged in checkers then in chess. For example. In chess, if you take a game a grandmaster is playing vs your average Joe and stop it part way through then have them swap positions the grandmaster would probably still win. In checkers, once you are behind, even just a little, it becomes quickly untenable. In checkers your advantage is much more transparent then in chess and your mistakes are much more final.

Re:Checkers, Not Draughts (4, Interesting)

mebollocks (798866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920051)

I will, therefore, take occasion to assert that the higher powers of the reflective intellect are more decidedly and more usefully tasked by the unostentatious game of draughts than by all the elaborate frivolity of chess. In this latter, where the pieces have different and bizarre motions, with various and variable values, what is only complex is mistaken (a not unusual error) for what is profound. The attention is here called powerfully into play. If it flag for an instant, an oversight is committed, resulting in injury or defeat. The possible moves being not only manifold but involute, the chances of such oversights are multiplied; and in nine cases out of ten it is the more concentrative rather than the more acute player who conquers. In draughts, on the contrary, where the moves are unique and have but little variation, the probabilities of inadvertence are diminished, and the mere attention being left comparatively what advantages are obtained by either party are obtained by superior acumen. To be less abstract --Let us suppose a game of draughts where the pieces are reduced to four kings, and where, of course, no oversight is to be expected. It is obvious that here the victory can be decided (the players being at all equal) only by some recherche movement, the result of some strong exertion of the intellect. Deprived of ordinary resources, the analyst throws himself into the spirit of his opponent, identifies himself therewith, and not unfrequently sees thus, at a glance, the sole methods (sometimes indeed absurdly simple ones) by which he may seduce into error or hurry into miscalculation.
Edgar Allan Poe - The murders in the Rue Morgue.
Great Story!

hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919279)

That's like saying someone always puts earth first. Knowing local legislative has always given readily independent a nalysis doings. Vacuum orders load down ever man offering republicans testimonies. Knowledge in locals locations has evermore influence on the environment. It makes sense if you look at the details.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919451)

What's wrong with a world where Harry Potter encoded spam ends up in a slashdot comment about checkers IA?

If it's unbeatable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919281)

...what happens if it plays another version of itself?

Re:If it's unbeatable... (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919351)

...what happens if it plays another version of itself?
Don't cross the streams. That would be bad.

Re:If it's unbeatable... (1)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919543)

the only winning move is not to play. :-)

Re:If it's unbeatable... (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919833)

I'm fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing. What do you mean, bad?

Re:If it's unbeatable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919385)

Whoever wins, we lose.

Re:If it's unbeatable... (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919757)

It's a reactive algorithm sooooooooooooo it would do nothing against itself...........

oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919289)

they've spent all their time trying to beat checkers and forgot to solve the game of slashdotting.

Not Impressed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919291)

Call me when you've solved chess.

Re:Not Impressed (-1, Troll)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919375)

Chess is a doddle. Call me when you've solved go.

Re:Not Impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919877)

Mathematical systems are easy to solve and prove.

Call me when you have solved things like mass psychology.

Then i can have a computer writing slashdot messages which will be moderated high, or a little simpler, investing in stock options.

Re:Not Impressed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19920007)

Screw Go. I'll be impressed when they solve Mario Party....

So, who wins? (4, Interesting)

drfuchs (599179) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919293)

Right. So, is it a win for the first or the second player? Would be nice to mention somewhere.

Re:So, who wins? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919349)

According to the site, it's a draw.

Re:So, who wins? (2, Informative)

poslfit (470396) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919667)

When correctly played, it turns out that it's a draw. The interactive game tree tool lets you explore which parts of the tree lead to which results, and if you start at the root, you can pick an edge at each node that guarantees at worst a draw for the current player. It's worth observing that the tree is not fully computed: it will often tell you that it doesn't know what happens if you make a given move in a given position, because all they needed to do was find a subtree that a player could always stay on.

What about tic-tac-toe? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919321)

I've been developing an algorithm to solve that game for years, and so far all I've come up with is: start with the middle square.

Re:What about tic-tac-toe? (2, Informative)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919497)

I've been developing an algorithm to solve that game for years, and so far all I've come up with is: start with the middle square.
Nah, that's false.

If you're going first, put your mark in the corner. Almost regardless of what your opponent does, put your next mark in an adjacent corner. He'll now have to block you, and then you put your third mark in yet another corner, and voila, you have 2 winning moves.
The only defense against it is to take the middle square with your first move and then block whatever side X tries to take with your second, and then X has to block your row with his third. That ends the game in a draw.

The only winning move going second is to play for a draw. You won't win unless your opponent makes a mistake.

Re:What about tic-tac-toe? (1)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919565)

If the first player puts their mark in a corner, the only correct moves for the second player is to mark one of the 2 adjacent squares. There is no way to garauntee victory in tic-tac-toe, regardless of who goes first. There are plenty of ways to lose though.

Re:What about tic-tac-toe? (1)

dj_tla (1048764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919903)

Only on slashdot is the solution to tic-tac-toe considered informative... once kids in the second grade figure it out, they tend to get bored of it.

Re:What about tic-tac-toe? (1)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919537)

That was an intro to AI project I did in school. Try a different class of language like prolog or lisp to solve it. If both players make no mistakes a cats eye (draw) can be reached. The only way to win is if the other player makes a mistake. The code to have the computer play flawlessly is only a few lines (in the right language).

Re:What about tic-tac-toe? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919623)

The solution is the same as for Global Thermonuclear War [imdb.com] : "The only winning move is not to play."

It's come a long way (2, Informative)

djKing (1970) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919329)

for(int i=60;i>0;i++) was the check they did to make sure Chinook only looked ahead sixty moves and didn't go over it's time limit in one of it's first challenges against a top human player. And yes that's a bug, lost the first game because of it. I was taking an intro to logic and data structures course from Dr. Schafer at the time.

Theoretical vs. practical (1)

brentonboy (1067468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919347)

Hasn't it always been fairly easy for a computer to beat a human at checkers? I don't recall it making the news the first time deep blue beat the world grand master at checkers.

Re:Theoretical vs. practical (5, Informative)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919471)

No. Schaeffer has a book out ("One Jump Ahead") about writing Chinook. He thought the same when he started, but the project got rapidly far harder than he thought. It helped that the existing human champion (Marion Tinsley) was literally as close to perfection as any human has ever been at any game- they exhaustively studied every professional game he ever played and found something like a grand total of 10 actual mistakes in a 40 year career.

It's a very sad book in many ways- there was a lot of tension between certain members of the team and you realized that professional checkers was dying rapidly. Tinsley and Schaffer set up a world championship rematch between them (Tinsely won the first one) and Tinsely pulled out after six games saying he felt ill. He checked himself into the hospital, was diagnosed with some aggressive form of cancer and died a few months later. Schaeffer basically retired Chinook from human tournaments since nobody else was even remotely close to Tinsley.

It didn't make many headlines because everyone knows checkers is easy. Except that they are wrong- it's not.

Re:Theoretical vs. practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919967)

It didn't make many headlines because everyone knows checkers is easy. Except that they are wrong- it's not.

It is easy in the sense that the number of possible moves is small enough to solve with a bunch of computers.

CPU Vs. CPU? (-1, Redundant)

mr_jrt (676485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919353)

So, if it's unbeatable, what happens if you set it against itself? Does it simply boil down to who went first?

Re:CPU Vs. CPU? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919391)

All games between itself would be a draw.

Re:CPU Vs. CPU? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919881)

They said "unbeatable" not "always wins", there is a subtule difference.

Re:CPU Vs. CPU? (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919947)

According to Star Trek they'll both explode in a terrific display of smoke and fireworks.

The Singularity is getting closer every day (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919357)

It's only a matter of time before a machine can out-think a man. "Unbeatably". Something to think about.

A machine cannot outthink a human (1)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919445)

First of all, machines do not think.

Second of all, in this case, it's a bunch of researchers that can outthink a human.

Re:The Singularity is getting closer every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919885)

And anyway, as someone noted in the killer robot posting a day or two ago:

If machines begin to think, we'll organize them into a committee. That'll fix 'em.

Re:The Singularity is getting closer every day (1)

dj_tla (1048764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920011)

Not really. I don't know why people think the human brain is so pathetic that we'll be able to best it someday. It's just not true; offloading simpler problems to computers has only let us dedicate more of our brains to more interesting problems. Just because a computer is equipped with an algorithm to play a game well, or even to create mathematical proofs doesn't mean it's a 'smarter' computer than one equipped with, say, OpenOffice, which is just as much an algorithm as Chinook. Strong AI [wikipedia.org] is a much much harder problem, as you basically have to create an AI that could come up with the idea for, design, then implement Chinook. If strong AI ever gets to the point that it can perform in any way comparable to a human brain, then we may find that, being able to offload so many processes to AI, we'll be able to dedicate ourselves to far more interesting problems. Our brains will never be obsoleted, because they will evolve as we stop needing to use certain parts of them.

CmdrTaco (0, Offtopic)

cheese_lord (834106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919395)

Anyone who wants to see CmdrTaco loss terrible should hop on over to table 17.

Woo (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919405)

Clever bastards!

I bet loads of board-game manufacturers are getting their lawyers to work overtime looking for a way to take these guys to court...

numerosity and solutions within bounds (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919477)

So, I've struggled with the issue of the really large numbers in game AI problems. In go, for example, there are about 10^170 possible legal board layouts for the 19x19 board.

There are (esitmiated) only about 10^81 atoms in the universe.

Do all of the 10^170 positions exist in any meaningful way? It is impossible to count, enumerate, or articulate them all?

Getting the point back to chess, these folks have done a similar thing - it seems they articulated 1/10000th or so of the legal boards and used it to "prove" something about the whole space. (I have not yet read the original paper...) This seems mostly bollucks, as most real players make all kinds of mistakes - so the games do not flow into the "important" game positions they follow. After about 3-5 moves in their java applet, I found moves that could make sense that there not in their "legal" moves database.

Re:numerosity and solutions within bounds (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919751)

So, I've struggled with the issue of the really large numbers in game AI problems. In go, for example, there are about 10^170 possible legal board layouts for the 19x19 board. There are (esitmiated) only about 10^81 atoms in the universe.

I'm not sure what you think the problem is. There are 361 board positions. Therefore you only need 361 pieces (atoms) to play.

Re:numerosity and solutions within bounds (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919841)

Years ago, the UA chess proggie stopped trying to make moves of Rubenstein_like clarity and started f*cking-around in the opening. Weak-master level obscurity. I had liked the UA chess program as one of 'principle'. With the new one I LOST-LOST-DREW-WON ... and canned it. nss ******

Re: numerosity and solutions within bounds (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919913)

tell us the sequence!

Re:numerosity and solutions within bounds (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920091)

This type of proof is not the same as "your checkers set comes with a handheld database reader to show you the solution of the position you are in" - because it's NOT about 'average players making mistakes'.

They went for the proof of the math behind the game. This article will also be a good flash answer against the wailers who say "but there are 500 billion billion *possible* positions in the game..."

The answer: only a small portion of them *matter*.

Here's the basic chain logic.

"All endgames of 8 pieces or less with a 2 checker advantage are wins except the following known cases... (see appendix.)"

Therefore, any time you can reach that conclusive endgame table, *all further deviations fail to matter*. It matters not that you are an 'average player who played something else'. The remainder of your game became theoretically irrelevant.

What Schafer and team banked on (and Drew) was that the quantity of Theoretically Critical Positions is far smaller than the Possible Positions. At the Master level of both checkers and chess, the results of games after mistakes are actually less important. Someone else also mentioned that it is even harder to turn a checkers game around than a chess game.

Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess? (-1, Redundant)

khendron (225184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919487)

Or maybe a game of Global Thermonuclear War?

Dear CHANUCK: Solve This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919515)


Has or has not the world's most dangerous criminal [whitehouse.org] committed high crimes?

People need to know given that Congress doesn't care.

Thanks a lot.

Pax,
Kilgore Trout, EX-Patriot

2 moves (1)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919555)

I've discovered this when i was little. It's called back, and forth, and I was unbeatable. Of course, I couldn't beat the other guy who was doing the same thing

Schucks (1)

nytrokiss (1097437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919633)

Soon there will be robots no one can fight because they know every move we are going to do..... AHH silver foil helmet time!

Chinook wind (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919645)

For non-Albertans... a Chinook wind is some hot air the blows down the mountains and melts the winter snow for a week or so.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinook_wind [wikipedia.org]
So it an analogy for a bright new idea -- like a lite up light bulb.
Therefore there are a zillion things called "Chinook" in Alberta.

Perpetually Frozen Tundra U. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19920005)

Yeah, except Edmonton (where U of Alberta is) doesn't get Chinooks.

Just one of the many, many reasons why Calgary is better than Edmonton.

Re:Chinook wind (1)

mungewell (149275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920021)

'Some hot air' does not really do the Chinook justice.

From the wikipedia article:

In Pincher Creek, the temperature rose by 41C (from -19C to +22C) in one hour in 1962.
Mungewell.

Oh yeah!?!?! (1)

Tim4444 (1122173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919677)

Chinook: 629348718327 Human: 0

How about a nice game of chess?

Red, black... or both? (1)

Vee Schade (6806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919681)

It's so complex, in fact, that the solvers don't know how to set the board correctly. :-p

If it's unbeatable.... (-1, Redundant)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919683)

...who wins when the computer plays itself?

I, for one, welcome our... (1)

Will the Chill (78436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919717)

unbeatable-automaton checkers-genius game-solving overlords!

-WtC

When its loosing.. (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919753)

Usually it gives its thoughts on the game... but if its loosing it says nothing. Quite interesting. Everyone should play as Slashdot incase someone wins ;)

Now try beating a Go Player (1)

BigFire (13822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919755)

If they can come up with a Go that can beat a 5-Den professional (middle of the pack in terms of professional Go player), I'll truly be impressed.

So the only winning move.... (0, Redundant)

mungewell (149275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919803)

is not to play!

Munge.

Two dimensional checkers for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19919837)

This may sound of Science Fiction but they may have solved two dimensional checkers but isn't here three dimensional checkers. Like the "Star Trek" 3-D Chess, 3-D checkers have a vertical layer to make it more challenging.

Hmmmmm (3, Funny)

TheOldSchooler (850678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919905)

So what happens if one automaton plays another? Does the universe implode in some kind of horrible checkers armageddon?

Re:Hmmmmm (1)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19920077)

Almost. We call it stalemate.

My universe imploded when W.O.P.P.E.R. played Tic-tac-toe against itself.

Vindication! (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919911)

Well, almost. I've been trying to convince my chess-playing friends that someday computers will be (literally) unbeatable at the game, but they've always been skeptical. Like TFA says, there are a finite number of positions and if the computer can store and map all non-losing paths through all of them, the game is solved.

Now interestingly, it sounds like they short cut that strategy by excluding positions reached by moves that this machine will never make and significantly reduced the number of "possible" positions that way. So I wonder if this means their program can't win from an otherwise winnable position, because that position isn't in it's database.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19920113)

"The prospects of completely solving chess are generally considered to be rather remote. It is widely conjectured that there is no computationally inexpensive method to solve chess even in this very weak sense, and hence the idea of solving chess in the stronger sense of obtaining a practically usable description of a strategy for perfect play for either side seems unrealistic today. However, it should be noted that neither has it been proven that no computationally cheap way of determining the best move in a chess position exists, nor has it even been proven mathematically that a traditional alpha-beta-searcher running on present-day computing hardware could not solve the initial position in an acceptable amount of time. The difficulty in proving the latter lies in the fact that, while the number of board positions that could happen in the course of a chess game is huge (on the order of 1040[citation needed]), it is hard to rule out with mathematical certainty the possibility that the initial position allows either side to force a mate or a three-fold repetition after relatively few moves, in which case the search tree might encompass only a very small subset of the set of possible positions. Still, it can certainly be said that nothing at present indicates a practical possibility of solving chess in any sense of the word."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_computers [wikipedia.org]

Chess is a very different game from Checkers, between the 3-move-repetition and 50-move-no-capture draw rules...

Kobayashi Maru (5, Funny)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919975)

The day an automaton is "unbeatable" is the day it's 500ft tall and shoots nuclear rockets from its fingertips. I think I know a relatively easy way to beat this checkers program.
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