GAMBIT would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to Steven Bartel (Muzaic, Ochos Locos, NeuroTrance, TenXion) and Mark Sullivan III (Moki Combat, NeuroTrance, gunPLAY, AudiOdyssey) who won two of MIT's biggest competitions this past week.
Bartel and three of his friends spent the past several weeks writing code for MIT's 6.370 BattleCode competition, an annual event that pits teams of MIT students against each other in a harrowing match of artificial intelligence programming skills. Here's an excerpt from fellow GAMBIT alumni Eitan Glinert's detailed summary of the event:
Each round of the compeition was a best of three match up in which teams who were eliminated early on move down to a loser's bracket, with the winner of the loser's bracket having a chance for redemption if they can beat the winner twice in a row.
Each match up was fought one of a set of several simple 2D maps which featured variable terrain and obstacles. Within each map were a few randomly placed "flux" (i.e. points) mines, and a team could win by gaining much more flux than their opponent. Flux mines needed to be controlled by a team in order to collect flux, and therefore these points were often the focus points of skirmishes due to their high value.
Each team started with a set of 6 flying, non-replaceable, self repairing archons which were the most valuable units in the game. Archons couldn't attack directly, but could spawn other disposable attack units like soilders and cannons. These attack units were useful as they could be used to attack (and potentially destroy) archons, tipping the tide of the game.
Several strategies were employed in the game, including having archons mass together and attack as a unit while ignoring flux in an effort to destroy the opposing team early. Another strategy was to split up and mine flux like crazy, hoping to survive enemy onslaughts. One of the more creative stratgies (employed by Greg from Rob Miller's HCI group at CSAIL) involved sending gigantic messages to enemies which would actually overload their message handlers, causing their scripts to fail in a sort of information warfare. The most successful teams would adapt to their enemies between match ups within rounds to exploit what they learned in the previous match up.
Check out Eitan's complete report for the nail-biting details!
Meanwhile, Mark Sullivan and his team won another of MIT's annual events, the 6.270 Autonomous LEGO Robot Design competition. Pictures are available of Mark and his robot in the Tech and a whole mess of other images at the event website. Added coolness points? Sullivan's team, Team 3, named their bot GLaDOS. Now where have we heard that name before...?
Congratulations, guys! We're proud of ya!