Halite is a AI programming competition. Contestants write bots to play an original multi-player turn-based strategy game played on a rectangular grid. For more information about the game, visit our website.
Halite I was conceived of and developed by Ben Spector and Michael Truell in 2016. Two Sigma, having had a history of playful programming challenges for its mathematical and software-oriented teams (e.g., see the Robotic Air Hockey Competition) retained Ben and Michael as 2016 summer interns to develop Halite, run an internal Halite Challenge, and ultimately open Halite up to human and non-human coding enthusiasts worldwide. Halite I was a great success, developing a flourishing community of bot builders from around the globe, representing 35+ universities and 20+ organizations.
As a result of the community’s enthusiasm, the Two Sigma team decided to create Halite II, an iteration of the original game with new rules but a similar structure and philosophy. With Ben and Michael as creative advisors, Halite II was developed by David Li, Jaques Clapauch, Harikrishna Menon, Julia Kastner as an evolution of Halite I.
The team considered simply reviving Halite I, but given the progress the community made and the number of open source bots that had been published, the team decided to create Halite II with new game mechanics and a fun background story that fleshes out the Halite universe. Halite involved moving pieces around a board with only up-down-left-right options. In 2017’s Halite II, bots battle for control of a virtual continuous universe, where ships mine planets to grow larger fleets and defeat their opponents.