Internet Go server
|Part of a series of articles on|
|History and culture|
|Players and organizations|
|Computers and mathematics|
An Internet Go server is a server that allows players of the game of Go to play against other players online. The two fundamental types of Go server are real-time servers and turn-based servers.
The first Go server that started operating is the Internet Go Server (IGS), which began service in 1992 and is still active today. Several other servers, all with the same basic server-client architecture, followed.
When initiated the IGS was resident at the University of Pennsylvania mainframe system without official permission from the university. For reasons that were never publicly stated, it then migrated to the University of California where it remained, purportedly with the knowledge of the university, until it outgrew the allotted memory. The server was then at some risk until the Nihon Ki-in decided to host it in Japan on dedicated servers, where it remains today.
Real-time Go servers allow players to play against other in real time when both are online at the same time. Generally, this involves a setup where both players use a client program to connect to the server, which then relays the moves from player to player. The server also keeps track of time controls, calculates the score and, if applicable, calculates ratings for the players based on their results. Such servers require players to download a client program, and many such programs have been developed for a wide range of platforms. Around 2000, Kiseido publishing started the Kiseido Go Server (KGS), which allowed players to play without downloading a client by utilizing a Java applet in the web browser. This server quickly became popular and still is today. IGS and KGS are currently (2011) the most popular servers for the English-speaking audience
Turn-based servers do not require opponents to be online at the same time. Instead, a player records a move with the server, and the server will present this move to the opponent the next time he connects to the server. This way, players need never be online simultaneously and can still play against each other. Turn-based servers also keep track of time controls, but these are generally measured in days, instead of minutes as is customary on real-time servers. Online Go Server (OGS) and Dragon Go Server (DGS) are currently the most popular turn-based go servers.