It started as just a chance to beat some MIT students through a competition based off the lightcycle game in Tronand ended in clasping hands and singing Auburn’s alma mater.
Kevin Davis, a junior at Auburn in computer science, and David Shuckerow, a sophomore at Auburn in computer science, placed first and fourth in a coding competition hosted by the computer hacker social networking site Hacker Rank
Contestants from 80 universities around the world created their own code and battled against other competitors, which is basically, “just designing a program that would output the correct moves for a given game,” Davis said.
The competition ran continuously from Nov. 19 to the early morning hours of Dec. 3, and competitors could change and re-submit their code throughout the competition, according to Shuckerow. Davis chose to use the C++ method, while Shuckerow preferred Python.
“It was a very intense two weeks because with this time scale that we had – you could literally have a new submission every minute – and so the leader board was constantly changing, and you could be on it for all of three seconds,” Shuckerow said.
In the last hours of the competition Sunday night, both Davis and Shuckerow celebrated in their respective ways.
“I was just at my apartment,” Davis, who won first place, said. “I was very happy, but it was really late, so at the same time, I was ready to go to bed.”
Shuckerow was perfecting his code with the help of friends in Teague dormitory’s lobby.
“We looked at the leader board and saw (Davis), and this man is first, and he’s from Auburn,” Shuckerow said. “I’m fourth, and I’m from Auburn. The MIT people are in seventh, and they’re from MIT. We won this.”
How’d they celebrate? By holding hands and singling along to YouTube’d version of Auburn’s alma mater, obviously.
“That’s the most memorable thing that has happened to me in a while, and it’s my favorite thing about Auburn,” Shuckerow said. “The difference between us and the best is that the best expect their fame. We’ll have to earn ours. At Auburn, right here and right now, we’re getting on the road to do just that.”
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