The Winning Quiche
KIXEYE’s own Mike Pavone and William Morgan recently made a splash at the 2014 ICFP Programming Contest. Here’s a debriefing on the weekend in Mike’s own words:
"When I first met Bill Morgan at Drexel University, he was one of the few people who seemed genuinely interested in my admittedly obscure pet project. So it’s rather fitting that he’s been the only consistent member of my team for the ICFP programming contest. Each year, the International Conference on Functional Programming holds a 72-hour programming contest to determine the "language of choice for discriminating hackers." Additionally, the team with the best entry after the first 24 hours wins the lightning round and gets the language they used declared "a fine tool for rapid prototyping." While most teams use a somewhat established language like C++, Java or Haskell, our team uses whatever language I happen to be working on at the time of the contest. This year and the previous two years we used a language I call Quiche.
The task a team needs to complete to participate in the contest varies considerably from year to year. This time around, the task centered on a fictional arcade game company named LamCo and their failed game LambdaMan. This game bears a striking resemblance to Pacman, but the hardware has a rather strange architecture consisting of one powerful Lisp CPU for the Lambdaman AI and four primitive 8-bit microcontrollers for the ghost AIs. The organizers provided a simulator for the hardware and it was the job of the contestants to write the AI code. Over the course of caffeine-fueled long weekend, Bill and I were able to produce 2 compilers targeting the aforementioned CPUs, an AI for Lambdaman, and two AIs for the ghosts as well as some parts of a more sophisticated solution that we were unable to complete in time. In the end we managed to place 8th out of 142 teams in the main round and 2nd out of 94 teams in the lightning round.”
Way to go guys!