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Chess AI scene locked in bitter plagiarism dispute

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Boing Boing has posted a summary of recent plagiarism disputes in the world of chess AI programming.


If you didn't know that there were raging battles surrounding the AI used in chess programs, you do now. Boing Boing has posted an exploration of the recent dispute involving Rybka, a program that won over 90% of the tournaments its team entered but was subsequently stripped of its titles for algorithm plagiarism. Rybka contains code and heuristics found in an earlier, less successful competitor called Fruit, and its creator seems to have taken action to disguise this, but there's a fierce debate between various parties as to whether his actions constitute direct copying. Chess raises these questions by its fundamental nature — with such a minimal ruleset, the distinctions between individual heuristics and algorithms become increasingly subtle. With the chess AI community racing to the same goal of cracking the game as comprehensively as possible, does learning and borrowing techniques from your peers constitute plagiarism?