The Angry Birds Bootcamp
The Angry Birds Programming Bootcamp is a one-day workshop where we teach high school students how to develop their own Angry Birds Artificial Intelligence agent. We provide a very simple programming interface that allows students to easily implement and test their own Angry Birds game playing strategies. As part of the workshop, we teach students basic programming skills. Previous programming experience is not required. Students will form teams of size 2-3 and design and implement their own strategies. At the end of the workshop we have a competition where we determine the team who designed the best agent.
The bootcamp consists of 5 different parts and runs for about 8 hours, including breaks:
1. Introduction and Angry Birds basics
2. How to develop your own Angry Birds agent: Interactive programming session
3. Team Session 1: Angry Birds strategies and initial agent implementation
4. Team Session 2: Agent implementation; testing and improving strategies
5. Angry Birds agent competition
The 2013 ANU Angry Birds Bootcamp
We had our first Angry Birds Bootcamp early October at ANU with Year 10-12 students from Canberra. Almost 40 percent of students were female and many students had no programming experience. We all had a great time and the students enjoyed it tremendously. The competition was very exciting for everyone and students particularly enjoyed seeing how well their strategies performed.
The winner of our competition was the only mixed gender team "Team Won" (Simon Malnar, Emma Turner, Qifan Xiao) with 638,220 points. Second was team "Powerpuff Girls" (Deanna Arora, Hannah Bott) with 542,860 points and third was team "People who cannot lose" (Alisha Boniface, Dhwani Pandya) with 494,450 points. Their agents were very impressive and better than many of the agents of the 2013 AIBIRDS competition. We benchmarked the agent of the winning team and in 63 minutes it obtained a score of 880000 on the 21 poached eggs levels, which would give them 8th place in the 2013 benchmarks. Well done!
All participants received a certificate and an ANU USB stick with all the necessary software so they can continue developing their agents in the same environment we used at the bootcamp. We hope that some of the teams will participate at the 2014 AIBIRDS competition. An article about the bootcamp can be found here, some pictures here.
Jochen Renz, Steve Blackburn, Gary Ge, Steven Gould, Jason Li
Australian National University