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Subject: TradeResolver version 8 out! rss

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Mikko Saari
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Hi!

TradeResolver, my math trade tool, is already in release 8. You can find it at http://traderesolver.sourceforge.net/

This Java tool can rank results by quantity or quality and it also produces pretty good-looking result lists. It has two modes of operation, slow but complete brute force mode and faster, but more unpredictable guessing mode. It also supports multi-tiered trades.

The program also features logging and random seed selection (for testing and verification purposes). If the trade administrator uses the guessing algorithm and publishes the random number generator seed used, all participants can verify the results themselves.

The latest release adds distributed resolving for large sets (run parallel copies of the program on several computers to find better results faster) and duplicate checking to prevent same trader from getting multiple copies of the same item.
 
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Diane Close
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Re: TradeResolver version 2 out!
If anyone is sitting on the sidelines, wondering how well this program works and reluctant to give it a whirl themselves, well PM me this weekend for feedback! It's about to get a workout on my very first Math Trade Geeklist (shameless plug follows)! Check out:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/14751

Then PM me after Saturday for my thoughts about using the latest TradeResolver. Heck, I think I might be the first person to try it out in an official capacity!

Diane
 
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Joe Huber

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Re: TradeResolver version 2 out!
While TradeResolver wasn't available in time to use on the Unranked math trade, I tried it out afterwards with no difficulties whatsoever.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 3 out!
Just a small nudge to up the thread. Release 3 is out! Updates include a stronger brute force mode, new quality ranking based on triangular numbers and a mode to check for two-way trades.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
Nudge nudge! Release 4 is out. Not many new-fangled features, really, just a brute force mode that actually works. Diane's fancy result output is also implemented in the new release.

This is probably the last release for a while, as I've run out of ideas to do right now and most important bugs should be fixed as well.

If someone runs the program for hours at some point, please let me know if the time display is correct.
 
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Jeff W
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
msaari wrote:
This is probably the last release for a while, as I've run out of ideas to do right now and most important bugs should be fixed as well.


Don't know what your opinion on the multi-tiered Math trades, but that would be a nice feature to add. I just ran a 3-tiered Math trade for the Denver Area, and it would have been nice to have an automated tool to do all the tiers.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
junesen wrote:
Don't know what your opinion on the multi-tiered Math trades, but that would be a nice feature to add. I just ran a 3-tiered Math trade for the Denver Area, and it would have been nice to have an automated tool to do all the tiers.


I've followed that discussion and yes, that's something I could do. First I need to know the best way to do it (how many tiers is good, for example); I also need a test case (if you can share your data, that'd be a good start).

The multi-tiered trade idea doesn't work too well with the guessing mode, where TradeResolver is at its best, but I could probably add it to the brute force mode quite easily.
 
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Jeff W
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
msaari wrote:
junesen wrote:
Don't know what your opinion on the multi-tiered Math trades, but that would be a nice feature to add. I just ran a 3-tiered Math trade for the Denver Area, and it would have been nice to have an automated tool to do all the tiers.


I've followed that discussion and yes, that's something I could do. First I need to know the best way to do it (how many tiers is good, for example); I also need a test case (if you can share your data, that'd be a good start).

The multi-tiered trade idea doesn't work too well with the guessing mode, where TradeResolver is at its best, but I could probably add it to the brute force mode quite easily.


I would say that you should allow infinite tiers. In practice, I see no reason to have more than 2 or 3, but it is not that much harder to do as many as the users want. My guess is that a tiered trade will run much faster since the dataset is reduced dramatically. The algorithm to use on the tiered trades would be for maximum trades (since the quality issue is addressed by the tiers).

We used semicolon as the separator between tiers. I'm thinking that something more visual like a slash would be better.

My data is posted in our trade geeklist in the comments: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/14806
 
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James Perry
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
Hey Mikko, what is the limit to the number of trades that TradeResolver can handle? I know you mentioned 300+ for your CD trades.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
There's no limit. One thing that bothered me was TradeGenie's limit (I had to weed the lists myself to get them fit in the 200 entry limit), thus TradeResolver has no limits.

Of course, brute force is pretty much useless at 60 items or so, but guessing mode should find something even with bigger lists.

The CD trade list has 369 entries, but after weeding that's just 90 tradable entries.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
junesen wrote:
I would say that you should allow infinite tiers. In practice, I see no reason to have more than 2 or 3, but it is not that much harder to do as many as the users want.


Well, it is always a bit more complicated to allow infinite tiers instead of a fixed amount... I don't think there's much reason to have more than three. Sure, someone might use four tiers in their wants, but that doesn't matter unless everybody uses four tiers, does it?

Anyway, I'll follow the discussion on tiered trades and if it seems promising and I'll have the time (which might be a bit of a problem), I'll add it to the program.
 
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Randy Cox
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
msaari wrote:
junesen wrote:
I would say that you should allow infinite tiers. In practice, I see no reason to have more than 2 or 3, but it is not that much harder to do as many as the users want.


Well, it is always a bit more complicated to allow infinite tiers instead of a fixed amount... I don't think there's much reason to have more than three. Sure, someone might use four tiers in their wants, but that doesn't matter unless everybody uses four tiers, does it?

Actually, it would matter. If everyone else lists 3 tiers and I list 4, I've bought some more time on that 3rd run through, where I'm still assured not to get my worst pick. Finally, after everyone else's three tiers (and my 1st 3) are evaluated, my dead-dog last selection is added and run one more time, in case my choice is still out there and still the lynchpin that makes the whole thing fall into place.
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
So if there is some game that I want just a tiny bit, I should put 100 tiers of empty want lists between it and the stuff that I really want, hoping that nobody does the same with 1000 tiers? Even if empty tiers aren't allowed, I can still put many levels of $100 games as spacers when I'm trading a $5 game.
 
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Randy Cox
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
When I attempt to click on the download link (....traderesolver-4.zip), I get a 404 "Quoth the Raven" message.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 4 out!
Ha, I guess you're the first one who ever tried to download it... The file name had an extra .zip in it, now it should work.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
Hello! First: there's a small bug in the release 4; it won't handle wants after the first 20 for each item. That was something I tested and forgot to remove after testing. I released a bug fix release earlier today.

However! I had some spare time and the process was fairly straightforward, so I went and created the release 5. TradeResolver now supports multi-tiered trades.

The current implementation supports unlimited amount of tiers, but doesn't accept empty tiers. They just don't make sense outside the context of gaming the system.

TradeResolver can run multi-tiered mode with either guessing mode or brute force mode. Running the Denver multi-tiered list with brute force mode wasn't quick (ie. didn't run through in 15 minutes), but the running the guessing mode 200000 times (about 40 seconds) found the best solution most of the time and almost as good the rest of the time (both have 25 trades on the first tier, but the better one has 4 trades later, while the weaker one gets only 3).
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
Does your algorithm operate one tier at a time, or does it choose a first tier (of several equally good ones) that gets the best second tier results?
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
One tier at a time, trying to reach the best result in every tier. Aiming for the best overall result would basically work against the idea of multi-tiered trades, I think. Or does it? At least it would make the process a lot longer, because there's really no way to know what the result will be unless you try it out.
 
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Joe Huber

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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
I think it would work - mildly - against the idea of multiple tiers to take into consideration the effects upon the next tier.

FWIW, when I needed to re-run the two-tier math trade, I used version 5 - it worked quite smoothly and took far less effort than it had to do the legwork myself...
 
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Randy Cox
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
I used Trade Resolver for the first time today (to run Joe's 2-tier trade as a 36-tier trade). Worked fine.

But how do you use those two optional files to help format the output (list of participants and game list)? The output wasn't formatted at all as it was looking something like this:

1 sends to 2 and receives from 32 sends to 4 and receives from 54 sends, etc.

Does using those two files make for "prettier" output that has line breaks?

Thanks.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
The regular output has line breaks, but if they don't show up, it's probably because they are Unix line breaks and you're reading the file with something that doesn't understand them (like Windows Notepad). Try opening the result file with something else (Word or browser).

If you provide the files containing the names of the items and the traders, you get output, where the numbers are replaced by names, saving you that trouble (I've found that's the place where the moderator is most likely to make mistakes).
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
msaari wrote:
One tier at a time, trying to reach the best result in every tier. Aiming for the best overall result would basically work against the idea of multi-tiered trades, I think. Or does it? At least it would make the process a lot longer, because there's really no way to know what the result will be unless you try it out.


It would take longer, unless you are using a randomized algorithm that might discover several equally-good solutions to a problem. In that case it would be free.

Assume that an algorithm finds many possible solutions to the trading problem and rejects all of them that do not maximize the size of the first tier. Then it rejects those of the remaining ones that do not maximize the size of the second tier, and so on. I think that anyone who believes in multiple tiers would agree that any other algorithm is unfair to the n th tier compared to the (n+1) th tier in a way that different that the treatment of the first and second tiers. The actual algorithm would presumably find the tiers in order and prune any search that was worse than the best one so far (alpha-beta pruning). Even better, it might use branch-and-bound to avoid spending time on lower tiers until it has a high-quality solution for higher tiers, assuming that the problem was too complex for perfect evaluation of a tier.

If you had a two-tiered math trade with this policy, then putting games in your second tier decreases your chances of getting first-tier choices. The algorithm may choose to make other people happier than you, because second-tier trades are better than none and the other people can only be made happy with first-tier trades. The alternative is that you hope the algorithm picks a solution that favours you while hurting someone else worse. If you decide to not include your second-tier choices, but you are one of the unlucky ones who could have been part of an equally-good trade in the first tier but weren't selected, then you don't get to trade at all. There is a certain egotism in saying that you want to get the best trades at the expense of others, and that once you succeed in this you don't care what happens to the other people. If you make your trade list without a second tier, you are going one step further and saying that if you don't get what you want, you will go home and take your toys home with you. An n-tiered trade that mandated that the first m tiers contain at most ceil((games listed)*m/n) games would fix that problem.

If you have a 3-tier trade, should you keep the second tier (nearly) empty to maximize your first-tier chances and possibly manipulate the second tier if you don't make it in the first tier?
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
Oh, yes. Should the program choose the first-tier solution that will yield most trades overall? Or should it just choose the best solution on the first tier? That's a good question, I think. Of course, this all with an assumption that we're talking about breaking ties among solutions with most trades.

However, doing that would be a lot more complicated than what TradeResolver is doing now, so at the moment it's a fairly theoretical question.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
msaari wrote:
However, doing that would be a lot more complicated than what TradeResolver is doing now, so at the moment it's a fairly theoretical question.


Actually, it isn't... I wrote a quick bit of code to solve multi-tiered trades with the guessing algorithm in complete sets, not tier by tier. Right now it chooses the best set based on the overall result (first trades, then quality), since that's the easiest way.

However, I would like to get opinions on what is the best way to choose the best solution. Is it the overall amount of trades or the amount of first-tier trades or what?
 
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Randy Cox
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Re: TradeResolver version 5 out!
I think you know my opinion. The phrase "first trades, then quality" is so out-in-left-field to me. "First quality, then trades" is more my creed.
 
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