That’s an excellent question, pondered by the brightest minds. The great Freeman Dyson proposed a solution dubbed eternal intelligence (Dyson 1979, Reviews of Modern Physics, Volume 51, Issue 3, July 1979, pp.447-460). Basically, some finite amount of matter=energy is stored. As the universe cools over time, energy costs per computation decrease (logarithmically, but forever). After each cooling time period, one can use some fraction of the remaining energy, which will thus never go to zero, leading to eternal consciousness.
It was later understood that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. If that holds, the concept breaks down, as Dyson admitted. In the far future, any two observers will be separated, making the remaining subjects very lonely.
I think this calculation is invalid. A human is created from a seed worth 700 MB of information, encoded in the form of DNA. This was created in millions of years of evolution, compressing/worth a large (but finite) amount of information (energy). A relevant fraction of hardware and software is encoded in this information. Additional learning is done during 20 years worth 3 MWh. The fractional value of this learning part is unknown.
How can we know that “it is possible to train a 200 IQ equivalent intelligence for at most 3 MW-hr”?
How did von Neumann come close to taking over the world? Perhaps Hitler, but von Neumann?
Sure! I argue that we just don’t know whether such a thing as “much more intelligent than humans” can exist. Millions of years of monkey evolution have increased human IQ to the 50-200 range. Perhaps that can go 1000x, perhaps it would level of at 210. The AGI concept makes the assumption that it can go to a big number, which might be wrong.
From what I understand about “ELO inflation”, it refers to the effect that the Top 100 FIDE players had 2600 ELO in 1970, but 2700 ELO today. It has been argued that simply the level increased, as more very good players entered the field. The ELO number as such should be fair in both eras (after playing infinitely many games...). I don’t think that it is an issue for computer chess comparisons. Let me know if you have other data/information!
I ran the experiment “Rebel 6 vs. Stockfish 13” on Amazon’s AWS EC2. I rented a Xeon Platinum 8124M which benched at 18x 1.5 MNodes/s. I launched 18 concurrent single-threaded game sets with 128 MB of RAM for each engine. Again, ponder was of, no books, no tables. Time settings were 40 moves in 60s + 0.6 per move, corresponding to 17.5 MNodes/move. For reference, SF13 benches at ELO 3630 at this setting (entry “64 bit”); Rebel 6.0 got 2415 on a Pentium 90 (SSDF Computer Rating List (01-DEC-1996).txt, 90 kN/move).
1911 games played
No wins for Rebel
All draws when Rebel played white
ELO difference: 941 +- 63
Starting from 3630 for SF13, that corresponds to Rebel on a modern machine: 2689.
Up from 2415, that’s +274 ELO.
The ELO gap between Rebel on a 1994 Pentium 90 (2415) and SF13 on a 2020 PC (3630) is 1215 points. Of these, 274 points are closed with matching hardware.
That gives 23% for the compute, 77% for the algorithm.
Isn’t +274 ELO too little for 200x compute?
We found 50% algo/50% compute for SF3-SF13. Why is that?
Answer: ELO gain with compute is not a linear function, but one with diminishing returns. Thus, the percentage “due to algo” increases, the longer the time frame. Thus, a fixed percentage is not a good answer.But we can give the percentage as a function of time gap:
Over 10 years, it’s ~50%
Over 25 years, it’s ~22%
With data from other sources (SF8, Houdini 3) I made this figure to show the effect more clearly. The dashed black line is a double-log fit function: A base-10 log for the exponential increase of compute with time, and a natural log for the exponential search tree of chess. The parameter values are engine-dependent, but should be similar for engines of the same era (here: Houdini 3 and SF8). With more and more compute, the ELO gain approaches zero. In the future, we can expect engines whose curve is shifted to the right side of this plot.
With a baseline of 10 MNodes/move for SF3, I need to set SF13 to 0.375 MNodes/move for equality. That’s a factor of 30. Caveat: I only ran 10 games which turned out equal, and only at 10 MNodes/move for SF3.
Yes: Rebel6 at normal 2021 settings (40 moves in 15 min) can be approximately matched with SF13 at 20 kNodes/move. More precisely: I get parity between Rebel6 (128 MB) and SF13 (128 MB) for 16 MNodes/move vs. 20 kNodes/move (=factor of 800x). On my Intel Core-M 5Y31 (750 kNodes/s), that’s 21s vs. 0.026s per move. Note that the figure shows SF8, not SF13.
I was contacted by one person via PM, we are discussing the execution setup. Otherwise, I could do it by the end of July after my vacation.
OK, I have added the Houdini data from this experiment to the plot:
The baseline ELO is not stated, but likely close to 3200:
Mhm, good point. I must admit that the “70 ELO per doubling” etc. is forum wisdom that is perhaps not the last word. A similar scaling experiment was done with Houdini 3 (2013) which dropped below 70 ELO per doubling when exceeding 4 MNodes/move. In my experiment, the drop is already around 1 MNode/move. So there is certainly an engine dependence.
From what I understand about the computer chess community:
Engines are optimized to win in the competitions, for reputation. There are competitions for many time controls, but most well respected are the CCC with games of 3 to 15 minutes, and TCEC which goes up to 90 minutes. So there is an incentive to tune the engines well into the many-MNodes/move regime.
On the other hand, most testing during engine development is done at blitz or even bullet level (30s for the whole game for Stockfish). You can’t just play thousands of long games after each code commit to test its effect. Instead, many faster games are played. That’s in the few MNodes/move regime. So there’s some incentive to perform well in that regime.
Below that, I think that performance is “just what is it”, and nobody optimizes for it. However, I think it would be valuable to ask a Stockfish developer about their view.
Yes, that’s correct. It is slightly off because I manually set the year 2022 to match 100,000 kNodes/s. That could be adjusted by one year. To get an engine which begins its journey right in the year 2021, we could perform a similar experiment with SF14. The curve would be virtually identical, just shifted to the right and up.
Oh, thank you for the correction about Magnus Carlsen! Indeed, my script to convert the timestamps had an error. I fixed it in the figure.
Regarding the jump in 2008 with Rybka: I think that’s an artifact of that particular list. Similar lists don’t have it.
Good point: SF12+ profit from NNs indirectly.
Regarding the ELO gain with compute: That’s a function of diminishing returns. At very small compute, you gain +300 ELO; after ~10 doublings that reduces to +30 ELO. In between is the region with ~70 ELO; that’s where engines usually operate on present hardware with minutes of think time. I currently run a set of benchmarks to plot a nice graph of this.
Yes, sorry, I got that the wrong way around. 70%=algo
i) To pick a reference year, it seems reasonable to take the mid/late 1990s:- Almost all chess engines before ~1996 lacked (or had serious inefficiencies) using multi-cores (very lengthy discussion here).- Chess protocols became available, so that the engine and the GUI separated. That makes it straightforward to automate games for benchmarking.- Modern engines should work on machines of that age, considering RAM constraints.- The most famous human-computer games took place in 1997: Kasparov-Deep Blue. That’s almost a quarter of a century ago (nice round number...). Also, at the time, commercial algorithms were considerably below human-level play.ii) Sounds goodiii) The influence of endgames tables and opening books is typically small. It is reasonable to neglect it in our experiments.iv) Yes, the 4-case-test is a good idea:- 1997 PC with 1997 engine: ELO XXXX- 1997 PC with 2021 engine: ELO XXXX- 2021 PC with 1997 engine: ELO XXXX- 2021 PC with 2021 engine: ELO XXXX
One main result of these experiments will be the split: Where does the ELO gain come from? Is it the compute, or the algo improvement? And the answer will be about 70% compute, 30% algo (give or take 10 percentage points) over the last 25 years. Without serious experiments, have a look at the Stockfish evolution at constant compute. That’s a gain of +700 ELO points over ~8 years (on the high side, historically). For comparison, you gain ~70 ELO per double compute. Over 8 years one has on average gained ~400x compute, yielding +375 ELO. That’s 700:375 ELO for compute:algo, or a rounded 70%-30% (SF has improved rather fast).To baseline the old machine, we don’t need to boot up old hardware. There is plenty of trustworthy old benchmarking still available that has these numbers.As the modern baseline, I would certainly recommend Stockfish:- It is the best (or amongst the very top) for the last decade or so- It is open source and has a very large dev community. Steps in improvements can be explained.- Open source means it can be compiled on any machine that has a C++ compilerOther modern engines will perform similarly, because they use similar methods. After all, SF is open source.As a bonus, one could benchmark a Neural Network-based engine like LC0. There will be issues when using it without a GPU, however.As for the old engine, it is more difficult to choose. Most engines were commercial programs, not open source. There is an old version of Fritz 5 (from 1998) freely available that supports protocols. I got it installed on a modern Windows with some headache. Perhaps that could be used. Fritz was, at the time of the Kasparov-Deep Blue match, the strongest commercial engine.
The MIPS are only a “lookup table” from the year, based on a CPU list. It’s for the reader’s convenience to show the year (linear), plus a rough measure of compute (exponential).
The nodes/s measure has the problem that it is engine-dependent.
The real math was done by scaling down one engine (SF8) by time-per-move, and then calibrating the time to the computers of that era (e.g., a Quad i7 from 2009 has 200x the nodes/s compared to a PII-300 from 1999)