[Computer-go] On proper naming

"Ingo Althöfer" 3-Hirn-Verlag at gmx.de
Thu Mar 8 02:08:28 PST 2018

Hi Dan, hi friends,

> There is actually no randomness in the algorithm, just like AlphaZero's...

but then it does not make sense to call that algorithm "rollout".

In general: when introducing a new name, care should
be taken that the name describes properly what is going on.

* When Bernd Brügmann introduced the name "Monte Carlo Go"
back in 1993, it did very properly describe the behavior
of the algorithm.

* When Rémi Coulom introduced the term "Monte Carlo Tree Search"
back in 2005, this described very well - for more then ten years
of development - what the algorithm was doing. (Although, over 
the years it became obvious that the rollouts had only a small 
degree of randomness in strong engines.)

* When the AlphaGo team used the name "MCTS" to describe AlphaGo's
search without rollouts but with NN-evaluations instead, things
became problematic. AlphaGo still used the tree search part of
MCTS, but no longer in combination with rollouts.

* And when now someone (Dan) looks at alpha-beta with single-node
extensions instead of iterative deepening, "rollouts" is a completely
misleading term.

I can not predict if Dan's approach will be successful. In any
case, he should look for another proper name to describe it.


PS. One example from the history of astronomy: For many centuries
seven planets were known (from Mercury to Saturn). And suddenly Galilei
got a (little) telescope (in 1609/1910) and discoverd four new
planets [sic!] around Jupiter. It took a while until these moons
were not called planets any longer. And, when in 1801, asteroid Ceres
was discovered and in the following years/decades a good handful of other
asteroids, they first were called planets, later planetoids, and
nowadays finally asteroids. So, there the are chances to repair
wrong names - but it costs energy, and in the meantime confusion
has happened.

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