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C is top dog in Google AI Challenge

December 4th, 2010

The Google AI Challenge has just finished and the scores for the 4,619 entries have been made available, along with the language used. Does the language choice of the entries tell us anything?

The following is a list of the 11 most common languages used, the mean and standard deviation of the final score for entries written in that language and the number of entries written in the language:

           mean      sd    entries
C          2331     867       18
Haskell    2275     558       51
OCaml      2262     567       12
Ruby       2059     768       55
Java       2060     606     1634
C#         2039     612      485
C++        2027     624     1232
Lisp       1987     686       32
Python     1959     637      948
Perl       1957     693       42
PHP        1944     769       80

C has the highest mean and Lisp one of the lowest; is this a killer blow for Lisp in AI? (My empirical morality prevented me omitting the inconveniently large standard deviations.) C does have the largest standard deviation; is this because of crashes caused by off-by-one/null pointer errors or lower ability on the authors part? Not nearly enough data to tell.

I am guessing that this challenge would be taken up by many people in their 20s, which would explain the large number of entries written in Java and C++ (the most common languages taught in universities over the last few years).

I don’t have an explanation for the relatively large number of entries written in Python.

How to explain the 0.4% of entries written in C and it top placing? Easy, us older folk may be a bit thin on the ground but we know what we are doing (I did not submit an entry).

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