Sleep will be at a premium this weekend at Missouri University of Science and Technology as a computer science student group hosts a 24-hour artificial intelligence coding competition.
The twice-annual MegaMiner event requires participants to write AI code for a computer game created by the Association of Computing Machinery students. Missouri S&T has hosted the competition, which is considered one of the largest in the Midwest, since 2007.
Dr. Ricardo Morales, an assistant teaching professor of computer science, says the competition provides S&T students with an endless stream of real-world, problem-solving opportunities. Game details, including the application program interface and framework, aren’t disclosed until the contest begins.
“This competition connects to the complete computer science curriculum,” Morales says. “Writing code, creating programming languages, data structures, algorithms.”
The event begins at noon Saturday and concludes at noon Sunday. It’s expected to draw more than 100 participants, including Missouri S&T alumni and teams from corporate sponsors such as Garmin.
Teams can have up to three members and compete head-to-head in a triple elimination tournament. That competitive structure distinguishes MegaMiner from similar 24-hour “hackathons,” which Morales calls a “bit more open-ended.”
“Hackathons usually have a theme, and the teams compete to realize the theme in a particular product, for which they’re judged,” he says. “In our case, there is a clear objective, which is to defeat your opponent. Everybody is working toward the same goal.
“In a hackathon, you typically don’t see the competition results until the very end,” Morales explains. “Here, you are continually competing against other teams, and getting continuous feedback.”
Additional information, including registration details, can be found online at siggame.io/blog/.