Monthly Archives: September 2008

Ruby Training at Helsinki in December

Rapid Ruby -noutopöytä is a Ruby course that let’s you choose the bits that interest you the most. I am giving it (in Finnish) together with Jarkko Laine on December 1-5 at Helsinki. We are focusing on actual programming, so you will get plenty of practice.

Persuade your employer to pay the bill, and it will be worth every penny. (To your employer too.)

Play your moves

If I had to play an even game of go against Takemiya Masaki, I would lose. I could have three hours of thinking time per move, he five seconds, and he would still beat me.

Takemiya has a master’s intuition and I don’t. His moves just work, and it looks like magic to me. No amount of elaborate scheming could turn the game to my victory.

Asked what amateurs should do to get stronger, Takemiya said: “It’s very important to play what you feel. It’s best not to think of the difficult parts of go or to worry about it too much.”

You cannot train your intuition if you worry about what your teacher would play. When confronted with a choice between the “right” move and the move that you like the best, choose your move.

When you play your move, you are excited and your heart pounds quicker. The worst that can happen is that you lose the game. The worst that can happen? No, the best! You have learnt something, and your hormones help you to remember it. Your intuition is a little closer to perfection.

If you only play other people’s moves, you will never know why (and if) they are the correct moves. Worse yet, you learn to ignore intuition, your most important tool.

Software design is not unlike go.

Every methodology I’ve come across has, at its kernel, a very small section labelled “do magic here”. — Katie Lucas

The magic is using your intuition. You can create a first-class design if your intuition is good. Otherwise it is like playing an even game of go against Takemiya Masaki. No amount of time will be enough to win you the game.

No amount of time? Well, obviously, if you are five years old and have a knack for go, by training for twenty years you may become as strong as Takemiya.

Similarly, to design great software, you should train your intuition first. Read books, learn from others and above all, play your moves.

Go computers, go!

The MoGo team is optimistic:

“The current result forecasts that before 2020 a computer program will defeat the best human Go player on a 19×19 Go board in a regular match under normal tournament conditions. This is remarkable, since around 2000 it was generally believed that the game of Go was safe to any attack by a computer program. The 9-stones handicap victory casts severe doubts on this belief.”


(game record) (game record)
USGC, August 1998 USGC, August 2008
Black: Many Faces of Go,
computer program
Black: MoGo Titan,
computer program
White: Martin Müller,
6-dan amateur
White: Kim Myung-Wan,
8-dan professional
Handicap: 29 stones Handicap: 9 stones
Result: White wins Result: Black wins