CS 3110 Tournaments

Computer Science Department
Cornell University

CS 3110 (formerly CS 312) is the third programming course in the Cornell Computer Science curriculum. The goal of the course is to help students become excellent programmers and software designers who can design and implement software that is elegant, efficient, and correct, and whose code can be maintained and reused. CS 3110 covers a broad set of topics, including: alternative programming paradigms, especially functional and concurrent programming; writing and using specifications; modular programming and data abstraction; reasoning about program correctness; reasoning about system performance; and useful and efficient data structures and algorithms.

The course has often held a tournament at the end of the semester, in which student groups compete to produce the best program, usually one that played a game. This competition is not been a part of the official coursework, but students have nevertheless worked hard to win.

Many of the games have involved teams of robots running a program written in a concurrent programming language, called variously RCL or CL. In an earlier programming assignment, the students made the interpreter for the concurrent programming language work.

Spring 2009: Steam Fortress

Two teams fight for control of an area using steam-powered robots with a variety of weapons and abilities. The winning team was Kenneth Chu and Jun Hui Erh.

Fall 2008: SteamCraft

In this game, two steam-powered robot teams try in real time to capture each other's flag. Robots control their acceleration around the board, using a variable solar energy flux to recharge boiler pressure. Mines can be dropped to temporarily disable unwary robots that get too close. Robots are programmed using the CL language, which was made entirely functional this semester. A mailbox abstraction was introduced for communication between robot threads. The tournament was won by Lucas Waye and Ryan Musa.
[ Problem set handout] [ CL language fall 2008]

Spring 2008: Abalone

The game was a robot version of the board game Abalone, in which each piece was a separate bot. Bots could push the opponents around and off the board if they coordinated with each other. The winning bot team was by Jerzy Hausknecht.

[ Problem set handout]

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Fall 2007: λ-Quiddich

A two dimensional version of Quidditch. Teams of 5 try and score the quaffle in the goal and track down the snitch. The winning bot (named Tony) was written by Scott Rogoff and Rick Ducott.

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Spring 2007: 20,000 λ's under the Sea

The game was 20,000 λ's under the Sea, in which two underwater teams of squids and whales tried to collect as much treasure as possible. Teams could spend treasure to buy more bots. Squids could squirt ink to temporarily immobilize opponents. Whales could eat squid but had to surface to breathe. The winning team was Mohan Zhang and Vincent Chan.

[ Problem set handout] [Java-based game viewer]

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Fall 2006: LambdaCraft

The game was “LambdaCraft”, inspired by the popular real-time strategy game WarCraft. Game pieces were wizards, archers, and knights, with the object of the game to capture the enemy wizard. The wizard could freeze archers and knights, or destroy arrows in flight. All pieces were robots programmed in CL. The board also had mountains and lambda-mines. Picking up lambda-mines (aka lambda-lifting) allowed teams to spawn new archers or knights. The team of Manuel Vargas Escalante and Nicholas Gallo won the competition. [Problem set handout]

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Fall 2005: ML-Man

The game was ML-Man, based on the arcade game Pac-Man. The game had five characters: the MLman and four ghosts, Zardoz (red), Eager (blue), Greedy (pink), and Curried (orange). The goal of MLman was to acquire points by consuming dots and enery pills, or by capturing ghosts. The goal of the ghosts was to intercept and capture MLman. When MLman collected enough points, the game moved to the next level and a new board was loaded. If MLman was captured by a ghost, the game was restarted at the same level. The winning team was Robert Albright and Tyler Steele. [ Problem set handout]

Spring 2005: Multi-Ball

This semester the students implemented “Multi-Ball”, a modified version of the soccer game with players, goalkeepers, and two balls on the field. Players could capture, carry, and kick the ball. Capturing enough randomly appearing powerups allowed teams to add new players. The actions of each player and the movement of each ball were implemented in a concurrent functional programming language called CL. The previous assignment defined this language and students built an interpreter for it. The CL code controlling each player was fully executed on the interpreter. The team of Daniel Margo and Edward McTighe won the tournament.
[Problem set handout]

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Spring 2004: Lambda Shark CTF

As in Spring 2003, the goal was to implement a set of robots using RCL. This time the robots played a capture-the-flag game. The robots were actually robotic sharks packing lasers that they could use to shoot at each other. The board contained a maze that the robots had to find their way through. Picking up star powerups enabled the team to add more robots. The winning team was Justin Pease and Elliot Bäck.
[Problem set handout]

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Spring 2003: Lambda Ball

The goal was to implement a team of robots that could play a soccer-like game called "Lambda Ball". In addition to the ball, which robots could carry or kick, powerups would randomly appear on the board, enabling teams to create more robots or to go into overload mode. The board was a hexagonal grid with an interesting coordinate system. Robots were implemented in a special "Robot Control Language" programming language (RCL). In a previous problem set, student groups had finished the implementation of the RCL interpreter. The winning team was Sanjeev Kapur and Ian Hall.
[Problem set handout]

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Spring 2002: Pente

The tournament game was the board game Pente. The goal was to produce a Pente player. Strong competitors implemented search algorithms that used alpha-beta pruning to search several moves ahead. The winning team was Oren Yeshua and Asher Walkover.
[Problem set handout]