CSc 180 -- Fall 2006
Intelligent Systems

2006 Tournament Results - "Rabbit Race"

Thanks to everyone who participated in the CSc-180 "Rabbit Race" tournament.
Although there it fell a bit behind on Day 2, by the end of the week only
a few matches still needed to be played.  They were finished the following
Tuesday, and we had a clear winner.

It was a lively event with a few spectators, including last year's winner
(Hong Nguyen, author of "Sleeper"), and the 4th place finisher from 2004
(Kevin Hjelden, author of "Lil'Brudder").  The event was also filmed by
Jeff Medlicott from UMS, as part of the STEM initiative.  A few other
students and faculty members dropped by as well.

Congratulations to our clear winner, "PROPHET", by Phuong Nguyen.
This was a notable victory in two respects - first, Phuong's brother
Hong was last year's winner, and second, this was the first time that
the winner was undefeated throughout the tournament.  Prophet used
alpha-beta pruning, iterative deepening, killer move heuristic, and
quiescent extensions to search 11+ plies (sometimes over 20 plies),
along with a sophisticated evaluation function which could detect any
forced wins in the lower half of the board (extending its effective range
by at least another 6 plies in those cases).  It scored a flawless 24-0.

2nd place was a tie between "SGT SCHULTZ" by Jake Henriet, and "HARVEY" by
the instructor.  The three programs (besides Prophet) that were able to
hold SGT SCHULTZ to a 1-1 tie were: Harvey, Stewie, and Bebop (in an earlier
round).  Only two programs (besides Prophet) were able to hold HARVEY to
a 1-1 tie: Sgt Schultz and Velvetine.

1.     Prophet      (P.Nguyen)     4-0 semis  12-0  finals
2.     Sgt Schultz  (Henriet)      3-1 semis   8-4  finals
 (tie) Harvey       (Gordon)       3-1 semis   8-4  finals
4.     Velvetine    (Burns)        2-2 semis   5-7  finals
5.     Tortoise     (Potter)       1-3 semis   4-8  finals
6.     Stewie       (Pragt)        2-2 semis   3-9  finals
7.     JARS++       (Tescher)      1-3 semis   2-10 finals
8.     Dizzybits    (Daniels)      1-3 semis
 (tie) Bebop        (Meyer)        1-3 semis
 (tie) Bad Rabbit   (Lan)          0-4 semis
11.    Comeback Kid (Goldsmith)
 (tie) MaizeBillbug (Huang)
 (tie) Tyquay       (M.Nguyen)
14.    Simple       (Buenaflor)    winner level 2 consolation
15.    Bungo        (Jarvinen)     winner level 3 consolation
 (tie) Alf          (Korableva)
17.    Toasty Ghost (Kronmeyer)
18.    NullPtrExc.  (West)
 (tie) Bones        (Briggs)
 (tie) Lombaro      (Le)
 (tie) Dooby        (Amphonephong)
22.    IDK          (Arbaugh)
 (tie) Fried Tofu   (Kong)
 (tie) Creature     (Adzhiev)
25.    Grasshopper  (Ho)
 (tie) ASH          (Carrington)
 (tie) Pallbearer   (Sathre)
26.    Tastes Like  (White)

The program which probably searched the deepest was JARS++, by Matt Tescher.
However, it's evaluation function didn't have the sophistication of some of
the other programs, which made a big difference in this particular game.

Some funny things happened... a few programs implemented the "find the 
fastest win" technique in reverse, and would as a result torture their
opponents to death.  We saw more than one instance of a program march a
piece right next to the hole, and then jump to the side rather than into it.
Three or four programs crashed or played illegal moves, and in one tragic
instance (Ash) a program used different rules and was thus unable to compete.

Rabbit Race turned out to be a great game, with lots of spectacular sacrifices
leading to clever victories.  I saw one game in which one program had
sacrificed SIX pieces to force a win with its very last piece.  PROPHET
played one winning combination that was so subtle that I still have no idea
why the first two moves were necessary... when it played them, its author
Phuong thought it had made a bad move.  Phuong believes that the outer
columns and the center columns are the strong points, while the B and D
columns are the weak points.  Although the game still remains essentially
unsolved, it is probably safe to say that against the top 6 or 7 programs
in our tournament, a human would be hard-pressed to survive.

Many thanks to Scott Barker for operating Null Ptr Exception.


2005 results