[Computer-go] Number of Go positions computed at last

John Tromp john.tromp at gmail.com
Fri Jan 22 08:03:59 PST 2016

Wow, Robert, so many questions!
Many of which I have no idea how to answer:-(

> You must have needed 15 or 20 years of research to find the result?

Very intermittently though. If it were all continuous, it may be
several months of Go research, several more months of article editing,
and a few years of software development. Also don't forget the
contributions of my collaborators, mainly Gunnar and Michal.

> Eventually you heavily rely on computational power. How has it been possible
> to get hold of the computers and computation time?

Keep spreading the word; and keep begging. Eventually, people with the
resources and an interest in the outcome will come forward. Like Piet
Hutin my case. Publication of the 18x18 result led to more offers.

> When described in
> informal words, how have you attacked and proceeded with the theory of the
> problem? What can other researchers learn from your experience of how to
> research well? The number of legal positions itself seems like a piece of
> trivia (is it?) but why do you think it is important to have determined the
> number, that is, what is the research benefit? If I may ask, what has been
> your motivation beyond curiosity? You mention the calculation to be a server
> benchmark. Have there been other equally or more suitable server benchmarks
> or is this particular problem ground-breaking as a server benchmark?

Oh boy. Let me pass on these for now.

> What do the solution and its theory tell go players for tactics and strategy
> and go programmers for developing better go playing programs?

Zip. Nada. Nilch. :-(

> Does the solution give a useful clue of how difficult it is to solve go as a
> game weakly or strongly?

No clue, literally:-)

> That is, how is the number of legal positions
> related to the computational complexity in time and space of solving the
> 19x19 go game (under a given go ruleset) if viewed as the specific 19x19
> problem and not as the context of the general nxn problem's class of
> computational complexity?

As Douglas Adams would say,
almost, but not quite, entirely unrelated:-)


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