Pop-up Course: AI Challenges I

Algorithms and machine learning
Intermediate studies
In this course the students participate in a fun competition where they design and implement algorithms to solve programming challenges. Each challenge lasts two weeks, during which the students may improve their solutions. The final challenge, in which the participants solve as many problems as possible, is held at the end of the course and lasts 24 hours. The course is targeted to students who have just taken the Introduction to AI -course (Johdatus tekoälyyn), although other students may join in as well. Minimal tuition will be available in both Finnish and English.
Year Semester Date Period Language In charge
2011 autumn 31.10-28.11. 2-2 English Arto Hellas


Time Room Lecturer Date
Mon 14-16 D122 Arto Vihavainen 31.10.2011-31.10.2011
Mon 14-16 D122 Arto Vihavainen 14.11.2011-14.11.2011
Mon 14-16 D122 Arto Vihavainen 28.11.2011-28.11.2011


Update: Thank you all for participating!

Top 3 for each challenge (calculated as an average over performance within a challenge):

  1. Challenge One: Path Planning
    1. psaikko
    2. Daolamis
    3. Urtela
  2. Challenge two: Great patron of Art
    1. Daolamis
    2. (The guy with four little snowmen as nick :))
    3. Urtela
  3. Challenge three: Magister Bonus
    1. Ornedan
    2. Micco
    3. Jeuro

The top-3 ranks are based on submissions done within the deadlines. Late submissions were accepted for grading and remain on the submission server until it is taken down. Thank you all for making this course awesome!


There is an (un)official course channel on IRCnet: #beaver

Note: Do not run the algorithms on interactive servers such as melkki. Use the cluster instead (see using the cluster -tab).

The course is split into three 2-week challenges, where students solve a fun problem from the AI field. At the end of the course, there is a chance for additional 1 ECTS which will be rewarded for participating in the Linkki 24 Challenge. Check out the Linkki 24 Challenge and sign up!

Major Thanks to Joel Kaasinen, Antti Laaksonen, Mika Laitinen, Pekka Mikkola and Joel Pyykkö (and others!) for participating in planning and executing the challenges.


Completing the course

 The course will be graded pass/fail. In order to pass, the students need to craft a solution that beats the reference solution provided by the instructor. Provided solutions must work in the CS department machines, and the source code must be returned under some open license (e.g. LGPL, Creative Commons, ...). After each challenge, the students need to write a a4 report, that describes the approach and lists the used references. 

Send the reports by email to avihavai@cs.helsinki.fi

Group Work

Working as a team is allowed, collaboration is suggested, but everyone needs to return their own submissions. No direct copying from others.

Literature and material

Material regarding the challenges will be posted here. In general, the students are expected to search and find information by themselves. Plagiarism without reference to the original source is not allowed (as usual). Direct copying of code -- without understanding what the code does -- is disallowed. We recommend that students use the internet and "usual books" like Cormen et al.