This upcoming January will see the first intercollegiate programming code war, with multiple teams competing from the top computer science colleges in the country.
Universities have long had national athletic championships. Now with the code war, we get an academic competition, with play-offs at each school and then the top two teams from each school in a final series competing for the national championships. This contest will demonstrate the programming skill of some of the most brilliant student programmers in the world.
The present competition we have created is a bit different from most of the ones out there. First, we are not doing it to identify students we want to hire (we're a small software company in Colorado) and we are not doing it to push or sell any technology or software. We're doing it because I enjoy creating this and because my daughter who goes to Harvey Mudd asked me to do this for her school.
Second, I wanted to make this as open as possible to all students. So we have set it up that the program can be written in C#, C++, Java, or Python so all students should be able to use a language & O/S they are very comfortable with. And I selected a game A.I. because that is something that most students do not know well, so it is a more even playing field from freshmen to graduate students.
Third, the final is a national competition with the other top schools in the country. MIT has told us they are looking at over 100 students participating (which apparently then requires security). Why should the sports teams be the only ones to compete with the other schools? This gives the C.S. students the opportunity to compete with the other schools. (And we're going to send a giant trophy to the winning school. One so large the football team will be jealous.)
Fourth, and I don't know why, this appears to be bringing in a lot of female C.S. students. I know at Mudd there is a high number of all female teams. At a couple of the schools participating it is the local Women in C.S. student group that is sponsoring the contest. Talking to professors the who can write the fastest algorithm contests tend to have very few women participating. As the father of three girls, I am really happy this is bringing in more women than usual.
If you attend Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Harvey Mudd, MIT, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, or Wisconsin, go to Windward Code War to find out where to sign up at your school.
If you attend Boston, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford, Berkeley, U Mass, U Texas, or U-Dub (Washington), please contact your C.S. department and ask them to say yes (they are presently considering it).