Stockfish NNUE

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Stockfish NNUE,
a Stockfish branch by Nodchip which uses Efficiently Updatable Neural Networks - stylized as (ƎUИИ) or reversed as NNUE - to replace its standard evaluation. NNUE, introduced in 2018 by Yu Nasu [2], were previously successfully applied in Shogi evaluation functions embedded in a Stockfish based search [3], such as YaneuraOu [4], and Kristallweizen-kai [5]. In 2019, Nodchip incorporated NNUE into Stockfish 10 - as a proof of concept, and with the intention to give something back to the Stockfish community [6]. After support and announcements by Henk Drost in May 2020 [7] and subsequent enhancements, Stockfish NNUE was established. In summer 2020 with more people involved in testing and training, and the computer chess community bursts out enthusiastically due to its rapidly raising playing strength with different networks trained using a mixture of supervised and reinforcement learning methods - despite the approximately halved search speed, seemingly becoming stronger than its original [8]. In July 2020, the playing code of NNUE is put into the official Stockfish repository as a branch for further development and examination. However, the training code still remains in Nodchip's repository [9] [10].

Strong Points

  • Reuses and gets benefits from the very optimized search function of Stockfish as well as almost all Stockfish's code
  • Runs with CPU only, doesn't require expensive video cards, and the need for installing video drivers and specific libraries, thus it becomes much easier to install (compare with other NN engines such as Leela Chess Zero) for users and can run with almost all modern computers
  • Requires much smaller training sets. Some high score networks can be built with the effort of one or a few people. It doesn't require the massive computing from a supercomputer and/or from community

Forum Posts

2020 ...

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