Students create card-playing bots to compete in Barracuda Programming Contest

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About 100 students spent 24 hours on January 10 and 11 designing and optimizing intelligent game-playing “bots” in an annual programming contest at U-M that is run by Barracuda Networks. The bots were programs designed by the students to play the traditional card game, “Put.”

The game was slightly modified for the contest in terms of the base rules, how many cards were dealt to each player and the use of two decks for the shuffle stack. The object of the two-player game is to take tricks, and the player with the highest number of tricks in each hand gets a point.  The first player to reach 10 points wins the game, and the first player to lead by 5 games or get to 21 winning games wins the round.

The students, in teams of one to four, spent about 20 hours designing and improving their bots. Of the 45 teams formed at the beginning of the event, 34 survived the night and competed in the final competition. In the finals, the students’ bots were arranged into single-elimination tournament brackets, with the ultimate winners determined after five brackets of play.

The winning teams were:

1st Place: Medium Pepsi
(L-R) Blair Hankins (Barracuda), Siyuan Zhou, Baishen Xu, Bowen Xu, Rich Boys (Barracuda)

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2nd Place: Victors of the West Heroes
(L-R) Blair Hankins, Shuo Yang, Chun Wu, Lili Su, Rich Boys

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3rd Place: Space Control
(L-R) Blair Hankins, Steve Schmitt, Rich Boys

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