Answering this question, @SmallChess offered this answer:
Before Google's chess journey, the chess engine community believed: AI chess will not beat classical programming because neural networks (or other models) run much slower.
I was looking for a reference to this quote. Did someone make this prediction in the past?
I have another, perhaps more fundamental question related to another part of @SmallChess' answer:
AI machine learning is not new to chess. There were serious attempts before Google established. Unfortunately, nobody had the determination, skills and resources to do a good job.
Is it possible to pin down precisely what they have done better than others? Could it be simply that they use a lot more of computing ressources than before?
- Subsidiary question: For a layman, who doesn't know how to compare TPU
and CPU, instead of 4 hours, how long would Alphazero's training have taken with Stockfish's configuration? (44 threads on 44 cores - two 2.2GHz Intel Xeon Broadwell CPUs with 22 cores instead of a single machine with 4 first-generation TPUs. See Supplementary Materials for their Science paper.)