Algorithms with a Purpose
Startup Tycoon
Saturday, October 17th
Algorithms with a Purpose (AWAP) is an annual collegiate programming competition held at Carnegie Mellon University where participants solve a fun and challenging real-world problem. This year, teams will design an algorithm for Tuber, a hot new startup that delivers widgets on demand via pneumatic tubes to the residents of San Franhattan and that needs your help to be worth its 30 billion dollar valuation. Students may compete remotely or on-site (we have t-shirts and Chipotle for on-site competitors). Last year we had 150 students and 12 schools competing and hope to get even more this year!

Prizes and Sponsors

Moto 360
Mini Quadcopter
Brought to you by:
[sponsors coming soon]

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the competition schedule?

The competition will be held on Saturday, October 17th from 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM EDT. The schedule will be:

  • 11:30 AM - registration for everyone and lunch for CMU competitors
  • 12:00 PM - release details on game and starter code
  • 7:00 PM - dinner for CMU competitors
  • 7:30 PM - tournament begins
  • 8:30 PM - awards ceremony

What is the tournament like?

Teams will upload their bots to our server and watch them solving problems in real-time. We will run the tournament in rounds, with the top N proceeding to successive rounds.

Am I eligible to participate?

Yes! Everyone is eligible to participate and win prizes! However, food and T-shirts will only be provided for those on the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) campus.

How do teams work?

  • The maximum team size is four people. If your team has fewer than four people, that's fine too!
  • Registration closes Saturday, October 3rd.
  • If you want to form a team after registration has closed, contact us ASAP.

What do I need to participate?

Access to a computer and your favorite development environment.

What programming languages can we use?

Teams will use Python for all programming this year. However, if you'd like to use Python to FFI out to a different language, you're more than welcome :-)

About AWAP

What is Algorithms with a Purpose?

Algorithms with a Purpose is an algorithms programming competition designed to contribute to academic research and have real-world implications. We create computationally difficult puzzles inspired by famous NP-hard problems.

Who's behind AWAP?

Algorithms with a Purpose is organized by ACM@CMU as well as a awesome team of developers.

What background knowledge is required?

Programming is all the background knowledge you'll need. Familiarity with some discrete math and/or algorithms is a plus but not at all necessary: if you like programming and solving problems, that's perfect!

This is the 3rd AWAP? What were the others?

The first Algorithms with a Purpose was held last fall as a CMU-only event. Competitors travelled to Snow World to solve a variant of the longest path problem! View more details here: Last year, competitors raced to space to build their ace base in the Space Base Race, a Blockus-themed extravaganza featuring 150+ competitors from 12 universities.