BonzAI Brawl

The Eighth Annual BonzAI Brawl was hosted Saturday April 11 at Michigan Technological University.  A total of 49 teams competed.  BonzAI Brawl is a programming competition focused on artificial intelligence (AI) programming.  The contest involves a real-time-strategy game, but nobody plays it; instead, each team programs an AI agent to play the game for them!

NMU had 4 student teams compete this year:

Andrew Shirtz
Justin Syria

Jason Strange
Gabe Appleton
Evan Kyle

Cody Aldrich
Colton Powell

Alex Lanthier

The contest has two main phases: the programming phase (8 hours of programming to build the agent), followed by the round-robin and direct-elimination tournament (known as the "Brawl").  Each round of the Brawl itself is played out within the confines of a competitive strategy game.  This year's game was a simulation of a snowball fight, where each team tries to control as much territory as possible.  So after 8 hours of intense programming effort, the teams sat back in a big lecture hall and enjoyed the show as their programs hurled virtual snowballs at each other.

Suspense and excitement filled the room as the teams eagerly waited to see the results of their hard work.

The top two teams from NMU were "Conway's Claim of Life" and "Suddenly Bears".  "Suddenly Bears" was defeated by "Conway's Claim of Life" in direct elimination going into the final round and, Conway's Claim of Life went on to win as the top AI agent of all 49 teams competing.  There were teams of undergraduates,  graduates, and professionals playing, representing Northern Michigan University, Michigan Tech, and Western Michigan University.  The contest was a great venue for our students to push their programming abilities and strategic skills to the max, while having a lot of fun doing so.

It appears that this was Tech's smoothest contest yet; we were able to get back to Marquette well before midnight.  Here is the contest website if you want to learn more about it.

We are looking forward to competing again next year.


Submitted by:

Dr. Michael Kowalczyk
Associate Professor
Mathematics and Computer Science