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As you yourself point out, the brute force here refers to solving a problem by throwing more hardware at it.

Number of nodes searched is not the key metric for gauging how “smart” the algorithm is. You have less nodes searched but you only got there by having way more upfront processing.

But that processing happens just once, and then you amortize it over the software's lifetime. Play a million games and you probably come out ahead.

And what is an estimation of the minimal hardware/time requirements for learning to beat humans at chess?

We need some baseline to call it "brute force".

Seems like ML/AI is still looking for its quantum supremacy moment.

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