Any suggestions on how to improve this year’s code war?

I feel pretty good about this year’s problem. It was hard, but the top teams were able to implement strong solutions and that is the goal, where it is a stretch. Even for students who are really good.

In the code itself the delay in updating the status of the power-up cards was not intentional and therefore was a bug. My fault as I wrote that code on the server side. One big downside of a code war is we can’t push something out for beta test because we have to keep it confidential. We did have an all-day code war here with everyone in dev on teams writing AIs for it as a test run, but all of them updated their cards when playing them so they never hit this issue.

The feedback on keeping Windwardopolis but changing the play substantially was mixed. A few disliked it. A few appreciated it. For most it wasn’t an issue. Going forward we will probably not do that again.

If you have any suggestions for us, please post them here as a comment or email them direct to me at david@windward.net. I hope you all had a great time participating.

Based on the suggestions so far (email and the below comments):

  1. We will create javadocs (and same for C#/Python) of the client API. 
  2. Tell people that the game is 10:00 – 6:00 but they need to be there no later than 9:30 and the play-offs are 6:00pm.
  3. Stress that they need to have machines on which they can turn the firewall off. And get that figured out before the day.
  4. We may send printed posters to put up.
  5. Provide a suggested website for the event similar to the University of Victoria one.

 

What Makes The Windward Programming Championship Unique

There’s a lot of hackathons out there. What makes Windward’s unique. A number of things:

  1. The competition emphasizes strategy and problem solving rather than simply coding.
  2. The problem requires a team to collaborate and communicate as they design their solution.
  3. Students must make trade-offs. Given 20 hours a team could craft a great solution. They have 8 hours. So they need to figure out what provides the most bang for the buck.
  4. It’s a direct competition. Each team’s A.I. competes in the same game against the other team’s A.I.s.
  5. It’s freshman friendly (a great strategy implemented in simple code will beat a mediocre strategy implemented it superb code). Many teams are comprised of upperclassmen and freshman which provides great mentoring.
  6. A higher participation rate by female students than most hackathons.
  7. It provides Universities a chance to compete with each other academically rather than just athletically.
  8. There is no human opinion judging winners and losers. The score on the board determines the winner.
  9. The entire event is just 8 hours and held locally.
  10. You’re competing with the top students from the top schools, across the world.
  11. We provide our competitors with a piece of functioning code, giving those new to programming a healthy start and those well experienced with a jumping off point.

Every year we work to make the event even better than the year before. And our two key goals as we put this on are first, that the students have a really fun day. And second, that they learn from it. If they end the day with a giant smile on their face and as a better programmer – that’s worth all the time and effort we put in.

For a description of the experience, read this HuffPo article.

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From Stanford to MIT to Cuba to Egypt

The Intercollegiate Championship between the top computer science Universities is now world-wide. The latest international entries are Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas in Cuba and Alexandria University in Egypt. The Windward International Collegiate Coding Championship (code war) is now truly an international championship.

<== The winning school receives that super cool trophy!

Windward Code Wars pits hundreds of teams from top universities who spend the day creating an A.I. character that will battle it out against other A.I. characters in a previously undisclosed programming game. This year the contest will take place Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Code Wars requires collaborative design, is freshman-friendly, and gives computer science students a chance to represent their school in a really challenging intellectual competition. It’s the most exciting programming contest in the world. (If your school is not yet signed up, there’s still time.)

 

Which University do you think will be the world champions (and win the really cool trophy)?

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