We recently wrapped up a programming contest that asked the fine students at San Jose State University to help us out with a task. Unlike our 24 hour contests where students create bots to compete against each other, this challenge allowed contestants to download a programming problem and work on it over a period of 5 weeks. In the final week, the entries were submitted to a panel of judges for review. Finalists were chosen to then present their work in person, and these presentations determine the outcome.
Here's how it went.
Per the problem specification, contestants were tasked with writing a Lua script to run within a Barracuda-provided VM that would scan the detected devices, parse device/driver mapping files, and provide a list of drivers to be loaded based on the detected devices. This was an exciting problem for us to give to the contestants, because we wanted the winning submission to be used in our virtual machines.
This was also an exciting competition because our participants would be using Lua. Lua is a tiny, embeddable programming language that integrates very tightly with C. Like video game companies, embedded developers, and tons of others in the industry, Barracuda uses Lua wherever both the performance of C and the rapid application development of scripting languages is needed. This was probably the first time that many of these students had used Lua, and we were looking forward to seeing their solutions.