As far as elite programming contests go, I thought the only one around was the ACM-ICP. (The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.) However there is a less well known but arguably more hard core contest called the ICFP.
Each year as part of The International Conference on Functional Programming there is a programming contest in which the first prize is an official declaration that:
“The first place team's language is the programming language of choice for discriminating hackers”
Of course we all know the language of choice for discriminating hackers is F#, but if that could be proven by winning this completion then great! So Brian McNamara, Luke Hoban, Dustin Campbell, and Myself formed team Cup<’t>.
You can get the full ICFP 2008 problem description here, but generally it was write an AI for a Mars rover which avoids obstacles and blood thirsty Martians. I’ve never written a ‘real time’ app before and found the whole robotics domain pretty enjoyable. (Maybe you’ll start seeing blog posts using Robotics Developer Studio.)
Anyways, if you missed out on the competition I definitely encourage you to participate next year. We had a total blast.
Pictured from left: Brian McNamara, Luke Hoban, Anson Horton, Alex Turner