Every year, ACM puts on a month long programming contest challenging developers to pit their wits against one another in some unique type of battle royal. Typically, the competition takes place on some kind of loosely physically based game board, where each person controls a team of agents who must cooperate in achieving some sort of collective goal, while thwarting the efforts of their opponents. It tests many elements of a software engineer. How well can you break down a complex problem? How good are you at balancing tactics and strategy? How do you coordinate your efforts? Its an AI geeks dream.
The competition has traditionally been built off the previous ICPC collegiate challenge... so we can get a sneak peek at this years challenge here. This year, we get to control a fleet of bumper boats, carrying a baton between way-points forming a course. Complete the circuit more times than your opponent completes theirs, and you win.
Here is a video of some of the competition at the collegiate challenge. There are just so many good ideas for strategies, I can hardly wait to start developing my own AI. I'll post updates about my engine as I get going. Looking forward to another good year of competition!