Smalltalks 2008 Coding Contest

This presentation illustrates the implementation details of the Smalltalks 2008 Coding Contest, which took place at the Smalltalks 2008 conference. As in other contests, the goal is to produce a program that will play a game. In this case, the game consists of a detailed simulation of a software development team. Participating programs are tasked to control the behavior of one developer. The objective is to express the behavior that maximizes the team's throughput in terms of completed work units. Other team members, including metaplayers such as a boss and an integrator, are simulated by the game.

The implementation of the contest required several interesting pieces of functionality. For example, a single numerical model with 5 calibration parameters takes care of how work units progress or regress, how the players perceive each other, how each developer reacts to stress, etcetera. Moreover, behind each programmer simulated by the game there is personality model with 17 calibration parameters, which is used to model the behavior of several characters from the Dilbert comic strip.

As an experiment on team dynamics, the coding contest offers interesting insight regarding our everyday behavior.


Andres has over 10 years of experience in Smalltalk. He has published two Smalltalk books, and is currently writing several others. He is one of the organizers of the Smalltalks conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He currently works at Cincom Systems as lead VM engineer for Cincom Smalltalk.