Checkers is a popular board game with many computer implementations. Brandon Corfman is working on an open source checkers game written in Python. Raven Checkers Version 0.4 was recently released and the project is looking for volunteers to take it forward.
Raven-Checkers is an open-source Python project hosted by Google. As far a game play is concerned it allows you to quickly set up board configurations using standard checkerboard notation. You can also describe your moves in the annotation window, and you can save and load games for later study and for learning techniques and tactics. Several training files have been included in the latest version to show how well Raven works for studying endgame strategy.
(click to enlarge)
As a developer project it is based on existing open source code as a basis, using Martin Fierz's Simple Checkers evaluation function and Peter Norvig's search code from the AIMA project.
Written using Python 2.7 and its standard libraries it is cross-platform and has been tested on Windows and Linux Mint (Cassandra).
In appealing for volunteers the owner of the project, Brandon Corfman, has outlined his plans which are rather unusual:
Most checkers or chess programs go the route of deep search combined with perfect opening and endgame databases. These techniques are well-explored and not really all that interesting to me. I plan on making a big change in future versions of Raven by relying more on planning than brute-force search.
More details of his ideas can be found on his blog.
Visit the Raven-checker site for more information, to download Raven 0.4 and discover how to participate.
SQLite 3.15 Adds Row Value Support
SQLite 3.15 is now available with support for row values, support for deterministic SQL functions in the WHERE clause of a partial index and the ability to VACUUM an attached database.
Alexa Prize For Conversational AI
With $2.5 million dollars on the table Amazon's new Alexa Prize, an annual competition for University students, could be the stimulus to making significant breakthroughs in conversational AI.