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Team “CDG” Takes First In Programming Contest

By Kathy Lin


With over 250 students on 127 teams, this year’s 6.370 software engineering competition was the largest yet. At Saturday’s finals, team “CDG,” comprised of members Clifford A. Frey G and James M. Roewe, came away victorious.

This year’s competition was similar to last year’s, although the organizers changed the rules, objective, and types of robots “enough so that people could get credit again,” said Aaron B. Iba ’05, one of the competition’s two chairmen.

In the competition, teams were challenged to “combine battle strategy and software engineering... to write the best player program for the computer game Robocraft,” according to the 6.370 Web site. In the competitions, two teams of virtual robots controlled solely by software vied for resources and attacked each other, according to the Web site.

There were “lots of cool strategies,” Iba said. For example, some robots “snuck up from behind” on other robots, said David L. Greenspan ’06, the other chairman of the competition.

One “big challenge” was that each team had “multiple robots that communicated with each other,” and the teams had to figure out good methods for communication, Greenspan said.

Iba said he likes to call 6.370 the “Super Bowl for nerds,” and Greenspan added that there is “play by play commentary.”

Andrew W. Houston ’05, who took fifth place as a one-man team, participated because it “seemed like a fun thing to do,” he said. Although many teams had two or three people, Houston said it is harder to work with more than one person because it is “tough to coordinate.”

Houston said his strategy was to “try to do all the core things really well,” whereas other teams had really complicated strategies.

This was 6.370’s fifth year as a software robotics competition, Iba said. Iba and Greenspan, who ran the competition for the second time this year, had the “ambition of growing it,” Iba said. When they won the competition two years ago, there were 30 to 40 teams, and they won a 300 dollar prize, Iba said. Since then, the competition has grown to over 12 thousand dollars in prizes and 127 teams this year, Iba said, with many companies sponsoring the competition. 6.370 was a good opportunity for finalists to meet recruiters from sponsoring companies and “get to know them,” Houston said.