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Exploring Halite – An open-source computer programming contest – INDIAai

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By Dr Nivash Jeevanandam
Halite is an open-source computer programming competition created by the hedge fund/technology company Two Sigma in collaboration with a Cornell Tech team.
Halite is an annual open-source programming challenge for artificial intelligence made by the New York company Two Sigma. Players construct bots using their preferred programming language and battle on a virtual two-dimensional battlefield. Two Sigma made Halite an open-source project to reach out to the community and teach people. It is run on the Google Cloud Platform.
Programmers can look at the game world and learn everything they need to know about it. Then, participants are asked to build bots in any language they want to compete on a two-dimensional virtual battlefield.
Writing smart agents in a collaborative but competitive Halite competition is a fun way to learn and use AI, machine learning, and other advanced algorithms. Halite is an exciting game environment for learning, writing, and seeing code. It was made for coding fans of all skill levels and is open to everyone.
In 2016, two high school interns at Two Sigma came up with the idea for Halite I and built it. Two Sigma had already made a name for itself by giving its mathematical and software-focused teams fun programming challenges (for example, see the Robotic Air Hockey Competition). In the summer of 2016, Two Sigma held an internal Halite Challenge, which led to Halite being made available to all coders worldwide. Halite I was a huge success, and it led to the growth of a thriving community of bot builders from all over the world, who come from more than 35 universities and 20 organizations.
In the first Halite, players moved pieces around a board by moving them up, down, left, or right. Halite II, which came out in 2017, lets bots fight for control of a virtual universe where ships mine planets to build bigger fleets and beat opponents. Last year’s game had bots built with machine learning techniques to encourage the community to learn more about deep learning, reinforcement learning, and other techniques. Furthermore, the Halite team made an ML starter bot to help competitors build ML bots. It was done to encourage people new to machine learning to try it out.
Successful players will win based on how complicated their code is and how well they play the game. For Halite II, the best strategies will involve complex pathfinding and swarming techniques, such as multi-agent pathfinding.
Conclusion
Writing smart bots in Halite offers a fun way to study and use AI, machine learning, and other cutting-edge algorithms in a cooperative, competitive game environment. Halite creates a fun gaming environment for learning, writing, and seeing your code. 
Furthermore, it is made for coding enthusiasts of all skill levels. By looking at a real-time leaderboard, users can monitor the development of their bots. The game will be made available for a three-month competition, and each bot’s performance will be determined by how inventive and sophisticated its code is.
About the author
Senior Research Writer at INDIAai
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