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The History Heuristic and Alpha-Beta Search Enhancements in Practice
November 1989 (vol. 11 no. 11)
pp. 1203-1212

Many enhancements to the alpha-beta algorithm have been proposed to help reduce the size of minimax trees. A recent enhancement, the history heuristic, which improves the order in which branches are considered at interior nodes is described. A comprehensive set of experiments is reported which tries all combinations of enhancements to determine which one yields the best performance. In contrast, previous work on assessing their performance has concentrated on the benefits of individual enhancements or a few combinations. The aim is to find the combination that provides the greatest reduction in tree size. Results indicate that the history heuristic combined with transposition tables significantly outperforms other alpha-beta enhancements in application-generated game trees. For trees up to depth 8, this combination accounts for 99% of the possible reductions in tree size, with the other enhancements yielding insignificant gains.

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Index Terms:
history heuristic; alpha-beta search enhancements; minimax trees; interior nodes; transposition tables; game trees; minimax techniques; search problems; trees (mathematics)
J. Schaeffer, "The History Heuristic and Alpha-Beta Search Enhancements in Practice," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 1203-1212, Nov. 1989, doi:10.1109/34.42858
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