I think the monte-carlo-search tag is currently ambiguous. The tag info page currently says:

For questions about clarifications/applications/implementation of the Monte Carlo Search algorithm used especially in Artificial Intelligence/Combinatorial games.

In computer science, Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS) is a heuristic search algorithm for some kinds of decision processes, most notably those employed in game play.

Monte Carlo Search - Wikipedia

which implies that the tag is just about MCTS. However, the tag name itself (excluding the word "tree") implies that it is either:

  1. solely about plain "Monte Carlo Search" (which is, among game AI researchers, generally understood as a straightforward algorithm that evaluates children of the root by generating (semi-)random rollouts from the root node without any additional element of tree-building like in MCTS), or
  2. more generally about search techniques that somehow involve Monte-Carlo methods in whatever way you can think of.

The current usage of the tag appears to be (almost) exclusively about MCTS.

I propose one of the following two should happen:

  1. Rename the tag to monte-carlo-tree-search. This would remove ambiguity, and does not appear to conflict much (if at all) with usage of the tag so far.

  2. Edit the tag info to be more generally about Monte-Carlo methods. Optionally, considering the popularity of the specific MCTS algorithm, I suppose a dedicated monte-carlo-tree-search tag could still be created as well.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for catching this. Clarity is optimal. I just checked the 15 tagged questions and they all involve MCTS specifically, so I think we can hold off on a general purpose "monte-carlo" tag for now. Looking into the most efficient way to alter the current tag text. Any thoughts on pros/cons for either "mcts" or "monte-carlo-tree-search" ? $\endgroup$
    – DukeZhou Mod
    Jul 24 '18 at 20:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DukeZhou I'd go for the fully spelled out name, since the tag length limit increase made sufficient room. $\endgroup$
    – Ben N
    Jul 24 '18 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @DukeZhou On StackOverflow the full named is also used for a tag about the algorithm, so that seems good to me too. See you already edited that. I've just proposed more detailed tag info (based on the tag info I previously also wrote for the same tag over on StackOverflow, slightly adapted because the scope is wider here, not just about implementation as it would be on StackOverflow) $\endgroup$
    – Dennis Soemers Mod
    Jul 25 '18 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for all of that detail in the tag info! I've accepted the edits, with a slight massage to the usage guidance excerpt (my feeling is we should avoid explanation of the function in the guidance portion.) $\endgroup$
    – DukeZhou Mod
    Jul 25 '18 at 20:04

The question has been addressed (see comments to the question). We now have a monte-carlo-tree-search tag.


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