2. 你是最强连珠程序“连珠解题者”（Renju Solver，国内俗称“连珠终结者”）的程序员，你能告诉我们你什么时候开始做这件事的吗？你投入了多少工作？
连珠解题者解简单的连珠谜题是强的。早在1998我首先学会编程语言的时候，我曾经做过一个五目程序， 2001年我开始连珠解题者的工作。2002年，我发布了“连珠VCF解题者”http://www.math.temple.edu/~wen/renju/vcf/，2003年，“连珠VCT解题者” http://www.math.temple.edu/~wen/renju/vct/，2004年我赢得了第四届连珠世界锦标赛计算机程序解题组冠军。诺索夫斯基先生给了我一些改进的建议。
Interview with Wen Xiangdong
(By Aivo Oll)
1. Please introduce yourself.
I am a married programmer, live in a quiet small town in the United States. I like swimming, playing board games (“go”, “Chinese chess”, ”chess”), solving puzzles (all kinds), pop music and movies.
2. You are the programmer of the strongest renju program, Renju Solver. Can you tell us when did you start working on it? How much work have you put into it?
Renju Solver is strong for solving easy renju puzzles. I once made a gomoku program back in 1998 when I first learned programming languages. In 2001, I started working on Renju Solver. In 2002, I published a Renju VCF solver http://www.math.temple.edu/~wen/renju/vcf/ , and in 2003, a Renju VCT solver http://www.math.temple.edu/~wen/renju/vct/. In 2004 I won 4-th Renju World Championship among Computer Programs Problem Solving. Mr. Nosovsky gave me some suggestions on how to improve it.
3. Could you explain a little bit how the process of working on the program looks like?
First, collect a bunch of puzzles and then use the program to solve them one by one. If the program cannot solve it, do more analysis of the puzzle and then write special code to do some kind of pruning of possible moves.
4. What separates Renju Solver from other renju programs? What is the secret to your success in making the program so strong?
Renju Solver mainly focuses on solving renju puzzles. I think “continuing development” is very important to make the program stronger.
5. I once read that your ultimate goal is to solve renju. What do you mean by that? Do you think it is possible to make Renju Solver even stronger than it is now?
I was just kidding. I am sure it will solve more and more renju puzzles.
You have a whole group who support your work in China and help you in finding all kinds of mistakes in the program etc. How much does it help as a programmer to know that you have this kind of support?
Yes, I really appreciate their help. They always provide me with puzzles and told me Renju Solver is weak on certain puzzles. Then I would look for the answers to the puzzles and think about how to solve them with program. The group also found lots of bugs in the program and I constantly fix them. I think for a renju amateur like me, the support is priceless. I own them a lot.
6. How much do you play renju and what is your level? Where do you usually play?
I am a renju amateur; recently I learned some variations of D4 and I7 openings. I wish I could be a professional renju player. I usually play it on the internet.
What do you think of the situation of renju in China? In the world?
It is getting better, everything is getting better.
7. Until now, thanks to the use of Renju Solver, Chinese players are light-years ahead of other players in theory. So, if Renju Solver would be made available to all the players, they would lose the advantage. Naturally, they do not want this program to spread. Still, you seem to support selling your program to foreigners. What do you think of this situation?
8. Programs are made to be used. I hope my program will be widely used.
Do you have a favorite renju player that you admire? What qualities do you think a renju player should have to be considered strong?
I admire all top players of any game because I do not have the gift to be one of them. A strong renju player always thinks all possible variations deeply.
9. In China, the understanding of copyrights etc. is still very weak. The best renju programs have been cracked by hackers. What could be done against it?
I am flattered that people like to use my program even when they use the cracked one. It is impossible to make the program uncrackable.
10. Do you have any ideas how to spread renju in the world? How to make it more popular? Do you think renju can become a professional sport?
I think more renju competitions would be helpful to make this game popular. I hope there will be more competitions, more players, and more supporters and then more people will be interested in it. Renju is listed in mind sports games in China; I think it could be a professional sport soon.