When Gaviota was released there was a lot of discussion on how to do the egtb generator (that ultimately was for the benefit of 6men).
Wondering if there has been work on that since or if it was still a goal? Then perhaps even 7-men.
Hope everyone is well
Yes, 6-men are still part of the plan. So far, the goal was to make the probing code as simple/efficient/fast as possible, so the people who decide to use it see a benefit. It is useless to offer something that no one will download. Users/testers will download it if several engines support it, and engines will support it if their authors see an advantage over the previous systems. I think that there is an advantage in every single aspect with no trade offs. Better compression, more options (faster decompression systems for the future SSDs), better cache (more efficient and faster), bitbases on the fly and flexible code that will allow expansion (extremely easy to plug in a new compression scheme), and even a future addition of true bitbases without modifying the probing code in the engine! I think I reached that goal, and now is up to the engine developers to use the code. Hard to say if they will use it, but I did my part.
Regarding the 6-men, the next phase is to redesign the generator for the 5 men. The current one is primitive and slow. It served its purpose (it was straightforward, which was critical to make it bug-free), but not for the 6 men. However, before going to Mars, we need to go to the moon again, but faster and more efficiently. If I can make the generator for 5 men to use as little RAM as possible and faster, the generator for 6 men will me amenable for current hardware that people have in their homes. Ultimately, I won't generate those, it should be a team effort. There is more chances that people will help if they see concrete proof this is going in the right direction. This will be more evident if your "favorite engine" uses 5 men TBs, and now you would like it to use 6 men. I hope my first paragraph explains why having a good probing code is essential before going into 6 men.
I have some algorithmic ideas, but the way to test them is with the 5 men first. I may fail, but I believe it is worth trying. So, this may require some patience, but so far progress has been steady considering this is just a hobby. The only think I can promise is that I will keep having fun doing it