The Design and Evolution of Go Explorer
The Smart Game Board, a software workbench dedicated to the development of game-playing programs, has been used to implement half a dozen programs that play different games. We describe its use in the development of three Go-playing programs: Explorer and its two offspring, Go Intellect and Swiss Explorer. It took four years to build and refine the Smart Game Board; this powerful programming environment now makes it possible to implement in less than a year a Go program that is strong by current standards. In the Fall of 1988, in its first test against other programs, Explorer tied for 2nd among 16 programs that competed in the 4th Computer Go World Championship in Taiwan. Explorer proved to be a fierce if somewhat unsteady fighter. The programming and development team split soon thereafter, each group trying out its own cure to avoid Explorer’s predictable lapses. Both successors run on the Smart Game Board and improved on their parent’s record in their very first encounter. In the summer of 1989, Go Intellect won the North American Computer Go Championship, and Swiss Explorer won the Go Tournament at the first Computer Olympiad in London (Kierulf and Nievergelt 1989). We attribute these results to a mixture of good luck and a solid dose of sound software engineering practice.
KeywordsMove Generator Game Tree Computer Game Playing World Championship Strong Player
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