There are a lot of programming competitions out there. And it’s not so much one is better than another (we’re better, we’re better!) but they all bring different challenges. This is the Windward Code War:
- It is just 8 hours. There is no prep time (we tell you nothing in advance).
- Your AI is competing against 7 other AIs in each game so your code is directly competing against other entries. The actions of your AI constrain the actions of the other AIs and vice-versa.
- The winner is determined by the high score on the board. There are no judges deciding who “won.”
- Students from most of the top schools compete.
- You do not need advanced classes to win. In 2013 the 2nd place team was 5 freshmen from University of Maryland.
- Winning requires a collaborative team that can figure out a great approach and the most important parts to implement.
- It’s fun. Incredibly fun. Watching the playoffs at the end you’ll be screaming, and crying, louder than at a football game.
You can sign your school up here. And once that is done, you can sign teams up here. Get your friends to sign up too – the play-offs at your school are a blast and the more teams, the more fun as you all compete against each other. Check out the experience at Harvey Mudd College in the video below.
There’s an 8th reason that I find really valuable. It’s a great measure of how well you will do at a start-up.
To do well in the contest you need to determine what functionality is important, quickly write code that is good enough, architect well from limited knowledge, test & revise multiple times quickly, and manage to pull off a job in 1/3 the time that’s reasonable.
To do well in a start-up it’s basically the same list. If you do well in this competition and enjoy it, you’ll most likely do well at a start-up and enjoy it. And top companies are very interested in hiring the people who do well at this contest – that’s why we get sponsors like HP, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc.
It’s on Superbowl Saturday and it will be one of your best days at school. Sign up today!
Author: David Thielen
Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.
Other posts by David Thielen