New York – Two Sigma, whose mission is to find value in the world's data by applying engineering and the scientific method, has opened Halite II, the second edition of its annual artificial intelligence (AI) programming challenge. The open source challenge provides global access to the resources and computational platform so that developers at any level can easily experiment with deep and creative algorithms of many forms – Halite II has a branching factor that is billions of times greater than the game Go. The competition starts October 23, 2017, and ends on January 22, 2018.

In Halite, players build bots using any coding language they choose. Players then battle their bots on a two-dimensional virtual board, testing their AI, machine learning and other advanced algorithms. Halite II is designed as a fun, engaging space odyssey – where players' bots control spaceships that mine planets, with the goal of growing their fleets to defeat their opponents. To win the game, players must submit bots that play and defeat other players' bots. The creativity of a bot's strategies as well as the sophistication of its code will determine its success in the game.

Camille Fournier, Head of Platform Engineering at Two Sigma said, "We're excited to create an experience that will help our employees and programmers everywhere experiment and test advanced techniques – such as algorithms for multi-agent pathfinding, any-angle path planning, optimum clustering and swarm management."

Two Sigma expects Halite II will build upon the artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques used in the first competition, which ran from October 2016 through January 2017. More than 20 coding languages were used in Halite I, with interest from people in more than 50 countries and 35 universities. Cornell Tech is a launch partner of Halite II, and with the support of Google Cloud, Two Sigma is providing access to GPUs as needed to ensure that machine learning techniques exhibit high performance.

Alfred Spector, Chief Technology Officer at Two Sigma, said, "At Two Sigma, experimentation is at our core. We've internally benefited from competitions like these, and based on the public success of Halite last year, we know that students and advanced programmers also benefit from them. For example, we saw players adding entirely new coding libraries and others who developed game-play strategies that were creative and really surprising. We believe that the open source model of Halite can help advance global computer science education – from beginners to programming and machine learning experts."

To sign up for Halite II and see hackathons and other events that will be taking place throughout the season, visit https://halite.io.

About Two Sigma Investments, LP

Two Sigma is a technology company dedicated to finding value in the world's data. Since its founding in 2001, Two Sigma has built an innovative platform that combines extraordinary computing power, vast amounts of information, and advanced data science to produce breakthroughs in investment management, insurance and related fields. Today, Two Sigma manages approximately $50 billion in assets, employs more than 1,300 people and has offices in New York, Hong Kong, Houston and London. For more information, please visit http://twosigma.com.