Students Compete to Create Game-Playing Bots in Weekend Programming Contest

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More than 100 U-M student programmers spent 24 hours on October 5 and 6 designing and optimizing intelligent game-playing "bots" as part of an innovative contest sponsored by Barracuda Networks. The bots were programs that were designed to play a game designed by Barracuda, in which two bots bid with limited resources for spaces on a 7x7 grid in an attempt to build a vertical or lateral path across the playing surface before the opposing bot does.

The students, in teams of one to four, spent about 20 hours designing and improving their bots. Of the 50 teams formed at the beginning of the event, 29 survived the night to finish out the competition. Over 1000 beverages were consumed over the course of the 24 hour event! The competition culminated in a tournament between the teams' bots to determine the winning programmers.

The winning teams were:

1st Place: Team M&M
Team members: Mark Gordon and Caoxie Zhang

2nd Place: Team AppleGuys
Team members: Junfeng Zhuang, Lin Hao Peng, Erdong Li, and Yijia Tang

3rd Place: Team STOMP 2.0
Team members: Michael Groshans, Eric Anderle, and Bill Hass

Additional coverage of the programming contest can be found on annarbor.com.


Students gather to hear competition rules at the event kickoff.


Hacking the night away...


Students unleash their optimized bots in the final rounds of competition.


A laptop running a bot as it competes in the competition.


Posted: October 15, 2012