Google sponsored an AI challenge this fall. The goal was to build a player for a game that would beat all other players. The game was called Planet Wars and ran in a 2-dimensional universe with a random set of planets. Each player gets 100 member army and the goal is to capture and hold as many planets as possible. You can see the rules and a demo of the game here.
Over 4600 people from all over the world competed including three of our students: David Kelly led coming in 1328th. Emily Bruckart was 1790th and Rob Koch was 1544th.
This is a great example of our students pursuing interesting things on their own. I had no idea this was going on until David posted his result on FaceBook. I'm really proud that our students are this engaged. However, I wish I had been able to compete, too!