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Rybka Solves the King's Gambit Chess Opening

routerl A Few Notes (206 comments)

First, the King's Gambit has not technically been "solved", for the most rigorous definition of "solved". Unlike, say, checkers, there are still lines (i.e. series of moves) within the King's Gambit that have not formally been examined.

Second, we are strictly speaking about the King's Gambit Accepted. That is, white begins with e4 (King's pawn forward two spaces), black replies classically with e5 (King's pawn up two spaces), white then gambits the f-pawn (King's bishop's pawn up two spaces), and black captures the f-pawn, accepting the gambit. As TFA mentions, the King's Gambit Declined has not been examined nearly as thoroughly.

Third, all of this is only somewhat relevant to actual chess playing, and only at the very highest levels of play; the average FIDE Master (i.e. a well above average tournament player, though nowhere near being among the 1,000 best players in the world) need not remove the King's Gambit from his repertoire because it has been "solved". This has, historically, been one of the most dynamic openings in chess, with tons of opportunities for tactical tomfoolery and psychological pressure. When we talk about "perfect play", or "near perfect play", we're already reaching beyond the level of world champions.

Fourth, while not every line has been thoroughly analysed, the ones that haven't are irrelevant. An advantage, in chess, is calculated on the basis of a difference of pawns. So, if the black player has all the same pieces as his opponent, save for an extra pawn, all other things being equal, we evaluate the position as -1 (i.e. from the perspective of white, the position is minus one pawn). Pieces other than pawns are weighed differently, even when we are solely looking at material differences. Traditionally, knights/bishops are said to be worth three pawns, rooks are worth five pawns, and the queen is worth nine pawns. However, the actual position of the pieces affects their worth; a knight very near the centre of the board is, often, worth more than a rook (i.e. A knight near the centre can have up to eight possible moves, whereas a knight in a corner can only have two possible moves). Thus, a position that has been evaluated as +/- 5.12 means that one player has more than a rook's worth of advantages over his opponent. Even in low level tournament play, it is very reasonable to assume that the advantaged player will win the game; at grandmaster level, this is so certain that it is considered impolite, even downright offensive, if the disadvantaged player refuses to resign.

Fifth, while different computer chess engines do evaluate positions differently, I have yet to come across a position about which the analyses of different engines have diverged by more than 2 pawns. An evaluation of +/- 5.12 by a top-notch engine can safely be assumed to be conclusive, since since most of what I said in the above paragraph also applies to an evaluation of +/- 3.0. Whatever else it may be, Rybka is certainly a top-notch engine.

Finally, it is true that Rybka's having reached its current strength relies on what are at best described as questionable appropriations of others' source code and algorithms. Nonetheless, the presented findings have an intrinsic value that is not dependent or reliant on notions of intellectual property or publicity. I am frankly ashamed by posters who have suggested that this article ought not have been publicized by slashdot because of its source. Knowledge is knowledge, period, and while it is both sensible and necessary to place ethical restrictions on scientific methodology, it is simply insane to deprive oneself and others of data that has, for better or worse, already been gathered.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

routerl Simple way to "get rid of" the side and top bars (2254 comments)

If your browser window is not maximized, the top and sidebars will stop following your scroll. At least it does for me, on WinXP with Chrome.

more than 3 years ago
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Losing Google Would Hit Chinese Science Hard

routerl Re:Google Scholar (161 comments)

Google Scholar is the most comprehensive index of scholarly articles in the world, period. Not only are there no free alternatives, there are no alternatives at all. There are services like JSTOR, which only index a limited number of journals from specific services, but nothing that compares to the completeness of Google Scholar (AFAIK). The only real alternative to Scholar is going to individual sites of individual journals and searching for what you're looking for dozens of times in different places. This quickly becomes a day-long project, compared to a 2 minute search.

more than 4 years ago
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EVE Online Battle Breaks Records (And Servers)

routerl Re:Here is video of the battle... (308 comments)

That really looks terribly boring. After decades of big budget sci-fi movies, not to mention epic space battle video games like Homeworld, this is the best space combat system that EVE can offer? There didn't seem to be any maneuvering involved at all... might as well be a text based game.

more than 4 years ago
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Learning About Real-World Economies Through Game Economies

routerl Re:Limited Use (178 comments)

Good points, though I doubt those issues would escape people whose day-job involves economic analysis. To me, this entire trend of studying MMO economies to somehow derive real-world conclusions smells of professional self-doubt regarding the status of economics as a science.

I know that some economists have, over the past decade or so, started performing little experiments, in the hope that this would lend more empirical credibility to their field. Of course, the main problem is scale, since getting a few million people to participate in an experiment is just a tad inconvenient. It seems that some researchers expect to overcome the problem of experimental scale by turning an eye towards already existing, large-ish, and confined economies (i.e. MMOs), although this endeavor is faced with far too many problems to be taken seriously. Which is why it seems desperate.

This self-consciousness if, of course, thrown into high gear given the utter failure of economics (qua predictive science) that we're all quite familiar with at this point.

more than 4 years ago
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Greenpeace Decries Lack of Environmental Progress From Console Makers

routerl Re:Incoherent Propoganda (143 comments)

I heard this story once and I absolutely love it. Sadly, no sources, so it may be apocryphal.

The story goes that Greenpeace's latest publicity stunt was to try and protect seals in the arctic from getting poached, so they decide they would make their skins worthless to the poachers by spraying the seals with bright green paint. As it turns out, however, the main defense of arctic seals against their natural predators (polar bears) is to lay perfectly still, with eyes closed, hoping to blend into the snowy/icy background to evade detection. Thanks to Greenpeace, these seals were now visible from miles away and, not knowing they were now targets, would just lie perfectly still while polar bears raced towards and devoured them.

Hooray for Greenpeace.

about 5 years ago
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Newspaper Crowdsources 700,000-Page Investigation of MP Expenses

routerl Re:I know this isn't the point.... (188 comments)

But I'm pretty sure that almost ANYONE in their shoes would have done the same...it's called the human condition. You are given the power to abuse something and you think nobody will notice....so you do. Flame away but i probably would have.

Categorize this as flaming if you wish, but that is exactly the kind of reasoning unscrupulous people use to justify continuing violation of moral and legal conventions. Other variations include but are not limited to "don't hate the player, hate the game" and "screw or be screwed". All amount to the same thing, and all are inexcusable. Believe it or not, the majority of people entrusted with power over the lives of others live up to the minimal expectation that this trust will not be broken. The word that describes this is integrity, and no amount of fallacious reasoning will erase the fact that you lack it.

more than 5 years ago
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Introducing the Warpship

routerl Re:Venture capitalists (361 comments)

What was it someone said about "a fool and his money"?

That they're soul-mates and stay together forever?

more than 5 years ago
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Dean Kamen Awarded Patent For Robot Competition Rules

routerl Re:Bad Patent for a Bad Invention (110 comments)

LOL

It's interesting to see someone having the exact same memory. In my final year of High School, my FIRST team found itself on both sides of that humiliation. In different matches, we both had to score points for our opponents, and found our opponents scoring points for us.

As I see it, the most serious imbalance in FIRST are those of the sponsors. How can a public school team sponsored by local transport and engineering companies seriously compete against, say, a team sponsored by both Microsoft and Delphi? For those who never competed, you should be aware that sponsorship, in FIRST, is not limited to supplying equipment and access to manufacturing facilities, but also employee-mentors, who provide varying (often unequal) levels of assistance during the design/build phase.

No scoring system can regulate that sort of unbalance.

more than 5 years ago
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New Pattern Found In Prime Numbers

routerl Re:9999991 (509 comments)

That's an anomaly. Sullivan clearly refused Zeus' advances, and we all know how vindictive that bastard can be.

more than 5 years ago
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Star Trek Game To Launch Alongside New Movie

routerl Possibly amazing... probably not... (82 comments)

If this game is anything but a pretty remake of Netrek, this will have been a huge missed opportunity.

more than 4 years ago
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What Has Fox Got Against Its Own Sci-Fi Shows?

routerl Nothing... (753 comments)

Tivo recording numbers is why they would do this. I've recently read an article about this, and it is clearly a good decision. Shows like Sarah Connor Chronicles (bleh) have small but dedicated followings, and the Tivo recording numbers (also kept and recording by Nielsen) are considerably higher than live-showing numbers. Hence, schedule is irrelevant, since the people who watch these shows will continue watching them regardless of the schedule.

more than 5 years ago
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New York Bill Aims To Restrict Games Containing Profanity

routerl Re:Monkey (133 comments)

"It also suggests that children who are exposed to in-game crimes are more likely to participate in real-life crime. "

I'm fairly certain there are studies directly contradicting this conclusion. Alas, I'm so bored of hearing this B.S. that I won't even go through the trouble of looking up the reference.

more than 5 years ago
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MIT Moves Away From Massive Lecture Halls

routerl Re:I don't get the "50% reduction in failures" (317 comments)

Why is a 50% reduction in failures a useful stat? The schools want a certain amount of failures in these large "weeder" classes, because giving a diploma to everyone who pays waters down the value of the diploma.

It is a useful stat because it means that more people are actually learning the material (given an unchanged curriculum), rather than that the material has somehow become easier. Schools such as MIT are not considered elite because a lot of students fail, but because they produce high quality graduates.

If they wanted to reduce failures, they only needed to move the curve (which was set where it was on purpose in the first place).

Again, the point is to actually teach better, not just give the impression of doing so.

Honestly, by the time you get to college, especially ones like MIT, if you can't learn because the environment isn't as cozy as it could be, I'm not sure it is completely the school's job to fix that for you.

Visit the campus of any university with a sufficiently high endowment and you'll see that vast rivers of money are spent ensuring that the environment is as conducive to good academic performance as they possibly can be. It is exactly the school's job to make sure their students receive as much help learning as possible, regardless of how much they choose to study. MIT is not at risk of becoming a "pay to pass" school, it is trying to maintain its dominance in the fields for which it is best known.

more than 5 years ago
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Dump 10 Friends, Get a Whopper

routerl Re:Facebook friends (2 comments)

I was considering reactivating my facebook account just so I could dump everyone on my friends list and gorge on junk food.

more than 5 years ago
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How the City Hurts Your Brain

routerl Actually, the article is incorrect. (439 comments)

As pointed out on MindHacks, its not that urban environments are bad for your brain, just that they are not beneficial. That is, it does not impart the positive benefits of natural environments.

more than 5 years ago
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Banned Words List Carries Its First Emoticon

routerl Re:Language evolves - deal with it (333 comments)

Arabic numerals, arithmetic operators, and all their friends have allowed us to communicate cross-culturally for ages. Also, think of stop signs, bathroom signs, hazard indicators, etc.

There is nothing terribly unique about emoticons.

more than 5 years ago
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Early Praise For Empire: Total War

routerl Re:Unit AI (79 comments)

I think there is more fun to be had giving orders when they are actually being obeyed.

That's why I shoot deserters.

more than 5 years ago
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Early Praise For Empire: Total War

routerl Lovely, but... (79 comments)

...are they making an effort to be historically accurate?

I've always liked the Total War series (since Shogun) but must admit to having been caught referring to some of the "history" I learned from the games. Rome:TW is particularly bad in this regard. Granted that the player can drastically alter the outcome of history, for instance by having a massive Portuguese empire take over all of Europe by 1250 A.D., but it would still be nice to be playing with actual historically significant events and persons.

And I have a lot of hope for this one, since a good chunk of it will deal with American history which many of the developers probably know a bit more about than Roman, Japanese, or medieval European history.

Also, I wonder whether we can now start looking forward to, say, Normandy: Total Way, which would be terrifyingly awesome. As the technology has gotten better, the series has tended to move forwards in time, with the exception of Medieval 2 which revisited a time period that had already been covered.

more than 5 years ago
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First Look At Windows 7 Beta 1

routerl Re:They're glowing! (898 comments)

Anyone know what these people are so excited about?

The graphics are slightly shinier?

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Hedge Fund Manager Nothing But a Con Man

routerl routerl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

routerl (976394) writes "The BBC reports that Bernard Madoff, hedge fund manager and former chairman of the Nasdaq, ran a "giant Ponzi scheme", paying older investors with the money of newer investors. The 70 year old is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine."
Link to Original Source
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Radiohead's "In Rainbows" pre-release e-ma

routerl routerl writes  |  more than 6 years ago

routerl writes "Rolling Stone reported on this about a week ago, and the album's website has been up for a while. Then, at 4:26 pm, I received (as I'm sure did many others) the following e-mail:

THANK YOU FOR ORDERING IN RAINBOWS. THIS IS AN UPDATE.

YOUR UNIQUE ACTIVATION CODE(S) WILL BE SENT OUT TOMORROW MORNING (UK TIME). THIS WILL TAKE YOU STRAIGHT TO THE DOWNLOAD AREA.

HERE IS SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE DOWNLOAD:

THE ALBUM WILL COME AS A 48.4MB ZIP FILE CONTAINING 10 X 160KBPS DRM FREE MP3s.

MOST COMPUTERS NOW HAVE ZIP SOFTWARE AS PART OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM; IF YOUR COMPUTER DOES NOT, YOU NEED TO GET WINZIP OR ZIPIT INSTALLED PRIOR.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THEM HERE:

PC: http://www.winzip.com/ MAC: http://www.maczipit.com/

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS DOWNLOADING YOUR FILE, PLEASE CONTACT OUR DOWNLOAD CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM AT downloadinrainbows@waste.uk.com

Solely as an experiment (I intend to buy the album at least once more), I paid zero pounds. But, sure enough, the DRM free MP3s would still be available, accompanied by friendly assistance with compression formats (not every Radiohead fan reads /.)."

Link to Original Source

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