Call for an ICFP Mars Server!

Hear ye, hear ye! I hereby call upon:

  1. The ICFP programming contest organizing committe (great job, by the way!) to release the source code for their Mars simulator (but NOT necessarily the maps that will be used to run the actual contest tournament), and
  2. someone TOTALLY AWESOME to take said source code and from it create a Mars Server where anyone can upload a rover controller (and maybe new maps as well), and the server will continuously run a tournament with continuously updating scores and leaderboards. This will have nothing at all to do with the real ICFP contest, of course, but it seems like the one thing most people are complaining about is the lack of feedback — this would be a fun way to get some great feedback that wouldn’t put any additional burden on the organizing committee.

Yes, I realize this poses various security risks and technical challenges. And yes, I realize I should just shut up and do it myself, except I don’t really have the requisite technical know-how to set up such a server. And yes, of course part of my motivation in suggesting this is that my team failed to actually make a submission.

But forget all of that. It would be FREAKING AWESOME.

Now, go forth and do my bidding carry out my suggestion? Pretty please?

About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.
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3 Responses to Call for an ICFP Mars Server!

  1. Bill Mill says:

    We made a bunch of new maps, which are available at and I wrote a Python library that makes it easy to generate more; .

    Those might be helpful if somebody takes up the challenge. Somebody must also have rewritten the server, right? We thought about doing it but didn’t. If we could find that person, we could probably just run their server.

  2. BTW, a similar game was developed for the Karlsruhe GPN conference, to be found at

    This years edition even has some a haskell framework for programming the player, but isn’t fully published yet: (Named Partty, in German only).

  3. b_jonas says:

    The hackerdom team has apparently testing anyone’s submissions who sends them: see

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