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Software Overview

In order to apply the most computing power available to the task of determining a move, the load is distributed across seven Sun Microsystems workstations. In particular, each of the seven possible moves is examined by a separate machine which produces an evaluation of that move. When all seven systems have evaluated their moves, the best is selected and the robot is instructed to drop a piece into the game board. Each of the seven systems runs the min-max search algorithm to a depth of six plies to evaluate the move under consideration [2,3].

One program (called the ``parent'') initiates the operation of each of the seven ``child'' programs, collects their evaluations and controls the robot. It is also responsible for determining when the game has been won or lost. The parent program runs on the same computer as one of the child programs. The robot is connected to a serial port on this computer.

Brian L. Stuart