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ICFP Contest Underway 43

iseff writes "The ICFP Contest (reported first here) is now underway. There's probably still some time for us slackers to code up something for the first round. This year's problem is similar to the board game Cops and Robbers. What I find cool about this year is the split into two parts -- code the original spec, then wait, get a new spec, and modify. Plus, any language is accepted, even though it's a 'functional programming' contest."
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ICFP Contest Underway

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Whoever enters a BrainFuck entry will be my personal hero.
    • Wow, that is some worthless brainfuck code you entered. It is all about befunge-98 anyways...

      01&v-1: <
      _$.@ ^\<<
  • More on the task (Score:5, Informative)

    by spockvariant ( 881611 ) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @09:08PM (#12911553)
    Participants need to write programs that control bots - cop bots and robber bots on a pre-defined map. The goal of the robber bots (of which there's only one in the first round) is to rob as many banks as possible (to rob a bank, a robber needs to simply arrive at its location), and that of the cop bots is to minimize the amount of money stolen - and if possible, catch the robber. The map can be seen as a directed graph with various edge attributes that decide how fast and in what direction a particular bot can move.

    What is really interesting though, is the format in which the tournament is going to be played. Every game will consist of 5 cop bots going against 1 robber bot. The cop bots will be written by individual participants - and will have the capability to communicate with each other, suggesting 'plans', and voting on them to elect the best one. The whole team gets rewarded if the robber is caught, but you also get individual bonuses for individual achievements. This adds a byzantine-generals like dimension to the problem, since the strategy is always a mix between cooperative effort and individual greed.

    The last and most important twist is the fact that the second round is worth 'significantly' more than the first, and involves adapting your bots to a modified version of the problem. What this modified version will be is a closely guarded secret... but it means that it's probably a good idea to spend as much time thinking about the design as thinking about the strategy.
  • Oh, great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick and Roll ( 672077 ) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @10:53PM (#12911904)
    Now people have a place to meet to break all the contest rules.

    I am working on this as a solo programmer. I'm more into math and algorithms than the average state university C. S. graduate, but still not very good at math. So I don't expect to have a very great entry, but will enter anyway. It would be really nice to make it into the playoffs (you compete against mediocre judge's robots in the regular season, and have to beat them to get into the playoffs). I think I'll be lucky if any AI I add doesn't break the protocol code (disqualifying my robot).

    I'm going to work into the wee hours of the morning both tonight and tomorrow night (I am in Arizona, so the contest started at 7:00 AM Friday and ends at 7:00AM Monday). I'll see what I get. If nothing else it will be a good learning experience - in fact it already has been good.

    I've been following the mailing list. The most interesting devlopment was that someone discovered that the five cops could camp the six banks, because two banks were only separated by one intersection. The organizers released a new map to fix this.

    It's an exciting contest.

  • I kept reading this as "Insane Clown FORTRAN Posse".

  • I like the "create this" part.. but the time pressure too much for my basic (literaly) skills.

    I learned basic many moons ago (apple IIC if you want to calculate that), and other than a little python recently, I haven't done much coding. I find as an individual not doing it for a living, programming gets to the point where you say.. ok I can do this, but now what do I do ?

    A few years back, I had a freind who wanted a program to mactch up roosters for fighting, It had the following requirements...

    must r

  • Evolved algorithms (Score:3, Interesting)

    by -Harlequin- ( 169395 ) on Sunday June 26, 2005 @08:32AM (#12913520)
    This seems like a suitable challenge to grow your program using mutation & selection and/or crossbreeding methods to create an evolved solution instead of a designed one. Set it up now, and leave some simulations running on a dedicated box or six, 24/7 until the competition. Then take your killer software to the competition.

    The coolest bit would be when anyone asks "So, how does your program work?", to which you would answer "I haven't the faintest idea. It just does." :-)
    • This reminds of that somewhat-well-known story which Skiena tells in one of his books.

      The story's about neural networks, it tells about a military system which had a neural network program which was supposed to be able to distinguish between images of tanks and images of regular cars. They trained the network with their trainining input sets, and after some training, it was working for those.

      When they started using the system in real life, it was a complete disaster... After some investigation, they concl
    • My brother in law worked with a professor at Stanford Unviersity (Koza or something...) who worked with mutating computer programs and the like. At one point his computers designed a circuit which always returned the cube of the number inputted, but he couldnt figure out why.

      So, not so far-fetched, after all.

  • In the original thread there were posts about the advantages of LISP and related languages citing garbage collection as one of the pillars of post-C language design.

    Now, I find this amazing. Apparently, functional languages can solve every real world problem with ease except keeping track of what resources have been allocated and their necessary life scope. Why do such potent language frameworks punt this problem to a simplifying heuristic? Are problems that arise in the implementation domain of a funda
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Apparently, functional languages can solve every real world problem with ease

      This is a straw man. Nobody claims this apart from the zealots, and they can be ignored like all other fanatics.

      What serious FP users claim is that FP can solve many classes of real-world problem with greater ease than existing imperative languages.

      There is some truth to this claim. Many OO design patterns have far simpler equivalents in FP languages. The visitor pattern, for example, is nothing more than an extremely compli
    • ...the advantages of LISP and related languages citing garbage collection as one of the pillars of post-C language design

      LISP really can't be categorized as a post-C language, as it was created roughly 15 years before C.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall