April 11, 2005

Missed Opportunity

Damn, I wish I had heard of this in time to participate. Contestants had 3 days (or 1 day for the lightning prize) to create an ant brain that could outcompete all the other contestants' ant brains. To do this, the winning contestants wrote an ant-world simulator that matched the judges' simulator exactly, wrote a visualizer so that they could observe and debug their ants' behaviour, invented a higher-level language to describe ant behaviour, and wrote a compiler to translate that to the finite state machine language required for a valid submission. Then, of course, they had to work out actual strategies for their ants. All in 3 days!

It reminds me of the ACM programming competition, where 3 people get 1 computer to solve 8 problems in 5 hours. I'll definitely keep an eye on this; maybe I'll have a chance to compete next year. Anyone interested in forming a team?


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