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Re: [vox] ACM programming contest
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Re: [vox] ACM programming contest

On 11/11/2010 02:29 PM, Bill Ward wrote:
> How about selecting a jury of respected people - perhaps those who have
> spoken at LUGOD meetings in the past? - and asking them to judge.  Pick a
> general topic, like a video game or an email utility or something, and leave
> it to the judges to pick the best one(s).  You could make the topic a little
> specific so as to make it less likely someone could dust off something
> they'd written long ago and pretending it was new.

Heh, I wrote a program to solve the traffic jam/city block game.  Where
a square is packed so that any car or bus can move north/south or
east/west.  I was optimizing both it's memory footprint and performance
without solving a particularly large problem.  Turns out I had an off by
one error and once fixed it solved it in a small fraction of a second.
So lets make the contest solving the traffic jam game!! ;-)

I was hoping for a contest that might spread beyond LUGOD.  Hard to put
a number on it but I don't think there are particularly large number of
programmers at LUGOD.  I figure we would be lucky if 1 in 5 of said
programmers would have time and would want to join in a contest.

I participated in a programming contest that was sponsored by the
military to further research in AIs that controlled teams of tanks at
the University of Florida.  Despite a large initial interest and a
discussion among 30-50 people some poor decisions by the organizers
resulted in only a single (poor) contestant which competing with one the
organizers wrote.

> Of course the judges
> shouldn't know who wrote what, for impartiality.

Yeah, I can see the need for judges if the best program can't be
quantified in some objective way.  I lean towards settling the contest
on the program's field of battle.  Personally I'm more motivated to find
the best solution I can instead of something as open ended as "video
game" or "email utility".

> As for prizes, perhaps some of those selfsame past speakers work for
> companies that would be interested in donating something?

In my experience programmers are mostly motivated by the problem and/or
the competition.  Sure a nice laptop, tv, and/or gift card wouldn't
hurt.  But any programmer with a hope of winning a programming contest
could very likely make more per hour doing something else.

Once the contest ideas form I guess we could setup a vote.  I'm still
pondering the best way to setup a simulation/contest to reward creative
strategy for controlling a team for minimal effort on the robot
programmers side.  Teams of tanks?  Control of ants to gain an
objective?  Maybe a soccer match?  Control of flying drones on a search
and rescue mission?  Best bzflag bot bean?  Warzone 2100 team?  Crimson
Fields?  Battle of Wesnoth?

Maybe the contest should be to write the best contest platform.  The
winner is the one that gets the most entries.

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