Forum Archive : Miscellaneous

What is Zbot?

From:   Douglas Zare
Address:   zare@math.columbia.edu
Date:   24 December 2003
Subject:   Re: ZBot
Forum:   GammOnLine

Zbot is a new commercial backgammon bot to be released in the first half
of 2004. The first level to be released will be Zbot Chouette, with Zbot
Tournament following, then Zbot Guru. There are six people working on
Zbot, including myself and Walter Trice.

To whet your appetite, although Zbot is still in training, it has an
improved understanding of certain commonly occuring positions over current
bots, as well as of esoteric positions resulting from deep anchor games.
Zbot can emulate a wide variety of coherent playing styles to expose the
player to different types of positions and decisions, as well as to make
a fun chouette. Zbot provides substantially more information on the level
of evaluations about cube efficiency and even the projected game plan, and
yet more useful information in its rollouts.

Zbot's network structure has a gerater capacity than gnu's or Snowie's,
and in theory it should be able to play better and faster. Zbot better
handles some of the theoretical aspects of money play and match play,
including cube efficiency, the effect of the Jacoby rule, and the extent
to which the bg/g/w distribution depends on the match score. However,
since Zbot is still training, the extent of the skill improvements is
unclear. At the moment, Zbot plays some positions better, and some
positions worse than Snowie and gnu.

Zbot has many features designed to be fun and useful to backgammon
players from complete novices to world-class players. For example, as
the name suggests, Zbot Chouette focuses on money play including props
and a consulting chouette. A new player can focus on the execution of a
basic game plan in a prop, or play in permanent crew mode for the
chouette, letting the captain decide most decisions. A competitive
player can try to figure out not just what is technically correct, but
what is likely to provoke errors from an opponent. Zbot gives you more
information about why a play might be right. Zbot admits when it
doesn't understand a position well, and when it had a tough time rolling
a position out.

While there is a web page, the address may change shortly, so I'll post
the new address in early January rather than the current one now.

Douglas Zare

Douglas Zare  writes:

[February 2004]

A simple temporary page is up connected http://www.zbotbg.com, but I may
move that page. I'll certainly add more information later.

Douglas Zare

Douglas Zare  writes:

[August 2004]

Zbot is behind schedule.
The front end is currently buggy and is being reworked substantially.
I'm rather happy with the insides, though work continues on that, too.
I will post updates here among other places.

Douglas Zare
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



Backgammon computers  (Graham Bayne+, Mar 2005) 
Backgammon in famous paintings  (Dan Scoones, Mar 2000) 
Backgammon versus poker  (Peter Hallberg, June 2006) 
Backgammon's popularity  (Anon+, Sept 2003) 
Board orientation  (Daniel Murphy, Mar 1999) 
Calculation versus instinct  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1998) 
Checker play versus cube play  (Gregg Cattanach, Oct 2004) 
Checker play versus cube play  (David Montgomery, Jan 1998)  [Recommended reading]
Copying positions from books  (Stick+, Nov 2005) 
Famous people who play  (Carem Wiklicm+, Dec 2002) 
Free lesson  (Donald Kahn, Apr 1999) 
General tips  (Hank Youngerman, Aug 1998) 
Giants of Backgammon list  (Raccoon+, Mar 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Handicapping  (Kees van den Doel+, Aug 2003) 
Handicapping  (flash, Aug 1998) 
Handicapping--Pass or pick a roll  (Michael J. Zehr, Dec 1997) 
Handicapping--Rerolling 5-4  (Mary Hickey, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
How bots rate you  (Phil Simborg, Mar 2010) 
Initiatives by local clubs  (Raccoon, Mar 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Is online gambling legal in the U.S.?  (Chuck Bower+, June 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Maximizing earnings  (Stanley E. Richards+, Oct 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Money management  (Carly Robson+, Jan 2009) 
Money management  (Gnoh Mon+, July 2004) 
Money management  (Adam Stocks, Jan 2003) 
Money management and the Kelly Criterion  (Stuart Thomson+, June 1999)  [Long message]
Notation  (Dean Gay, Feb 2000) 
Notation  (Kit Woolsey, July 1995) 
Position cards  (Francois Hochede, Jan 2004) 
Posted diagrams are scrunched up  (Dale+, Sept 2000) 
Top women players  (Tami+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Typesetting backgammon  (Jason Lee+, Apr 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
What is Zbot?  (Douglas Zare+, Dec 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
What is backgammon?  (David C. Oshel, Aug 1997) 
Why do people play for money?  (Hank Youngerman+, Sept 2005) 
World Champions  (John Bazigos, June 1994) 
rec.games.backgammon mini-FAQ  (Daniel Murphy, Mar 1998)  [Recommended reading]

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page