Last week I participated to the third edition of Unleash the Geek in Amadeus. What is Unleash the Geek you might ask if you're outside of Amadeus. Read on and you'll know!

For the third year hundreds of Amadeus employees spent a day and a half together working on writing small AIs in teams of three people. These AIs are powering bots competing against each other in funny games. The event is hosted on CodinGame’s platform while the players are located all around the world.

For me it was the second time that I participated. Last year I was relatively new to CodinGame, by now I know the platform much better. Of course this helped a bit. Even though the challanges are tend to be really different every time, inevitably you will recognize some similarities and you will have some ideas about how to start out with certain kinds of problems. This year our troops had to capture more nodes in a graph - yes, in a graph! - than the other teams’.

Only one player of our team changed compared to last year and despite not working anymore on the same project, we could go together smoothly.

I feel that I was far from my top performance the first day. I went bad early, but still I was extremely tired. Even my daughter slept fine, so I don’t know. There are days/nights like that. The second day I felt much better, too bad it only lasted three hours.

I think we had good dynamics in our team. We tried to share the tasks in a meaningful way. The first morning I could concentrate more on writing the framework for our AI - to say it less appealing, I did the plumbing -, then I spent time on path searching in the graph, while my teammates could work more on the strategy implemented by our bot. The second day, after I did some optimization on the startup of our algorithm, I joined more actively the discussion about our strategy. And I have to tell you I really enjoyed debugging and fixing our code.

What could we have done better? Apparently Python was not the best choice for us. It was perfect for me, but a bit more difficult for the others. I think we overestimated the team’s experience with that language.

As we enjoyed the game, we already agreed on continuing with the same team next year, but in a different language. We’ll work in Java which is a bit slower to develop in and (quite) a bit more verbose, but on a team level it will make us work faster.

We also agreed that more regularly we’ll have to step out of the room where we work with the other teams. It’s difficult to concentrate and to discuss. More frequently we’ll do some checkpoints outside to talk about what we are doing, to draw diagrams, to analyze what’s going on. I truly believe it’ll make us a lot better.

Last year I was a bit disappointed because we ended up quite in the bottom of the game, but this year it was much better. After the first day we were in the top quarter and even by the end of the competition we were in the top 40 percent. It’s far from the top, but it is still a great feeling! Good job Mathieu and Benoit!