John Stanback's Home Page

About Me

Here's a little background info for starters... I was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1953 and moved to Lexington, Kentucky. when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Lexington, then attended college at Purdue University where I got my BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering. After college I began working for Hewlett-Packard Co.. I am currently employed as an IC process engineer at Avago Technologies.

My wife Lynn and I have two children, Jennifer and Brian. We live in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Jennifer works as a nurse in Denver, while Brian is a sophomore at Front Range Community College where he is majoring in Computer Science.

Some of my interests are Computer Chess, Masters Swimming, Image Processing, Photography, and Music.

This picture was taken several years ago when we were on vacation at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina (it doesn't really look like Colorado, huh?).

Computer Chess

I first started working on chess programming in about 1978 and for some crazy reason I'm still at it, although I really don't spend much time on it anymore. I started by writing a move generator and very simple search routine and evaluation function in BASIC. I then rewrote the program in FORTRAN and added the capability to search up to 5 plies selectively on an HP1000 computer at work. This version probably played at about the 1400 level while searching a whopping 40 nodes/second. Next I switched to PASCAL and experimented with various selective search techniques, but made little improvement in playing strength. In 1986 I got a PC at home and rewrote the program again, this time in C. I followed the more conventional approach of depth first alpha-beta search. This version was considerably stronger tactically, playing at about the 1650 level on an 8 Mhz 80286. In 1987 I posted the source code on the chess newsgroup. It can still be downloaded as the SCP (Stanback Chess Program). I continued to improve the program and in 1987-88 I contributed my program to become the GnuChess program. My final version can be downloaded by clicking here. Update October 2008 -- Jim Ablett added Winboard support and I added sudden death time control and time increment and fixed a couple bugs with the hash table. Here is the updated version Several other programmers have modified this version since that time, but I haven't kept track of the changes or their impact to playing strength. In 1989 I did a complete rewrite and called the new program Zarkov. I competed in several of the ACM Chess Tournaments as well as the 1989 World Computer Chess Championships and greatly enjoyed these events due to the friendly atmosphere and the presence of other programmers as nutty as myself. Zarkov isn't very competetive these days, but I still have fun experimenting with various ideas.

Masters Swimming

Having swum competitively when I was younger I find that swimming is still my favorite form of exersize. I swim about three times a week with the Vortex Masters Swim Team. Our workouts are typically about 4000 yards and it feels really good when I've finished a workout. I keep threatening to enter meets more than once or twice a year ...

Image Processing

For the past several years I've enjoyed experimenting with various image processing algorithms for processing "raw" images directly from an image sensor. I've written routines for bad pixel detection and correction, raw image noise filtering, color interpolation, white balance, tone mapping, noise reduction and sharpening, and "purple-fringe" correction.


I like to fool around with computers. My current computer has an ASUS K8N-E motherboard with an Athlon 64 at 2.4 Ghz running Windows XP. I've also got a Shuttle SS51G computer hooked up to my TV and stereo receiver.


One of my favorite things to do with my computer is fiddle with pictures from my Canon S400 digital camera. I got the camera a couple years ago and it fits in my pocket and sort of takes decent pictures, but I guess one of these days I'll get a digital SLR such as the Canon EOS20D or something similar. I use Photoshop Elements and Irfanview to manipulate images. Maybe I should post a "picture of the month" on this web page, but at the rate I update my page it would be a "picture of the year" or worse.


I enjoy listening to a variety of music and it's nice to be able to play MP3's on my computer and my Ipod Nano. Some of my all-time favorite artists are Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Marley.

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Last revised: March 14, 2006