[Computer-go] Number of Go positions computed at last (John Tromp)

Mark Goldfain MarkGoldfain at comcast.net
Mon Jan 25 00:11:17 PST 2016

Well, although Dr. Tromp seems rather modest about this result, I haven't
heard of anyone else doing similarly interesting work on the theoretical
foundations of the game.  This set of results is fascinating and newsworthy.
Congratulations on carrying this out, all the way up to 19x19 !

I have a couple of questions, if these comments are being seen by Dr. Tromp.

1. So, as you go up the chart, what is the percentage of all possible 
positions that are legal?
     Isn't that a trivially-quick corollary from your results?  [ (Tromp 
result) / (3 **(n*n)) ]
     And isn't that an interesting sequence?  Perhaps more intuitively 
useful to a go-programmer
     than the raw numbers themselves?  Does this set of ratios make any 
intuitive sense to you
     ... or should I rephrase that as -- can you rationalize these 
results of the ratios?

2. One of the most frustrating things about writing a program to play go 
is that the rules are
     a bit blurry.  Far too blurry to really satisfy a computer 
programmer.  I think some of the
     work you've done over the years is in creating a rigorous and 
computable set of rules.
     Is this correct, or have I heard wrong on this count?  Do you have 
a set of rules that
     could be profitably used for the basis of a go-playing program, 
that you like today?
     Is there a link to such a rule set somewhere?

-- Mark Goldfain

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