Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm baaack

It's been a while, but I'm back onto the computational backgammon hobby. I took the free Stanford machine learning course, which was a really interesting high level overview of many machine learning techniques, including neural networks. In the end I don't think it much changes my approach here even if it did give me some interesting context.

The next step: generalize to a more complex evaluator of the board value. I'll use a bearoff database in the appropriate end game, and separate neural networks for different game phases. To start with I'll just use  two, race and contact networks. But the framework will be generic so I can define however many networks I like, along with a generic way to decide which network (or other technique like bearoff) is appropriate for a given stage of the game.

I never did figure out why the previous version didn't converge properly, but I'm going to try a fresh implementation to see if there was some hidden bug. And hopefully the bearoff bit will help it get more sensible results near the end of a (race) game.

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