A 36-hour nonstop contest
The final takes place for three days in the EPITA school, which is closed for the event. The Prologin team is assisted by some EPITA students and former contestants. At least ten organizers assist technically the contestants during the whole contest. The contestants are authorized (and invited) to communicate together.
The main goal of the final is of course to select the best contestants, but also to allow them to meet together and share their knowledge and ideas, and to work on a real project that requires them to give the best of themselves, from a technical perspective but also from a time management perspective.
The judging system is a client-server architecture programmed every year by the Prologin team. The contestant being free of the systems programming part, they can focuse on all the algorithmic aspects of his submission.
Prologin takes care of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners. As the final is also a party, unlimited (alcohol-free) drinks, crepes and cotton candy are available, even after the meal hours.
Mattresses are of course available for every contestant, but they need to bring their own sleeping bags.
The development environment
Every one of the 100 contestants can work during the whole contest on a computer running GNU/Linux. It is a good occasion for them to familiarize with the UNIX environment, unknown for most of them. Some documentation on the subject is available, and the Prologin team is there to help them if needed.
Every year, an original contest statement is created by the Prologin team. It generally consists of a game whose rules define a world in which the programs of the contestants have to compete. It has a playful aspect, while needing a lot of algorithmic and technical skills, generally related to artificial intelligence.
The complex environment of the subject requires technical skills, an analytical mind, and good time management.
The first phase of the evaluation consists of a great tournament during which the programs of all the contestants compete against one another. As soon as the contest ends, at 1 AM, all the computers are used by a distributed tournament system, in order to make thousands of matches, and get a precise ranking in equitable conditions.
The ten best programs of this tournament are then analyzed in depth: the source code and the documentation provided by the contestant are studied to write an evaluation sheet that will be used during the defense.
A special jury defines the final ranking after a twenty-minutes defense with each of the ten best contestants. This ranking, highly influenced by the results of the tournament, also takes into account the capacity of the contestant to justify their technical choices, the quality of the design of his program and the potential improvements they could have worked on.
The awards are given at noon, after the individual defenses. The main sponsors are generally here and give prizes and awards to the winning contestants. Everyone is then invited to a feast that ends the contest.