rybka; kangaroos

I had lunch with Alejandro today. He wrote the smallpotato chess program. It takes a lot of effort to write a good chess program. We talked about the programs that came out of nowhere. First there was Ruffian by Per-ola Valfridsson of Schweden. He was not a participant in chess groups or discussion boards and then one day he released Ruffian which just beat all the other programs available. It was extraordinary. Alejandro told me that the same thing happened with Fruit, for which the source code of one version is available. He said it doesn't do anything special, just does the usual stuff very well. Finally in December 2005, the international chess master Vasik Rajlich came out with Rybka which is clearly the best program anyone has written up until now. He must have some new idea which ensures its superiority, because there is no way to "cheat" in computer chess. You can tune your program against some other programs to ensure good results, but you can't do it against all of them. It's impressive, because usually the best chess players aren't necessarily the best chess programmers.

On Saturday I was driving to Venman Reserve when a kangaroo jumped out in front of the car. It was rather frightening because there is no effective action possible. ABS brakes would have helped, though, so my next car will surely have those.


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