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Man AHL announces winners of second annual coding prize

13 February 2017

Man AHL, Man Group’s diversified quantitative investment manager, today announces the winner of the second annual Man AHL Coder Prize, a coding competition for students aged 16-25. Matthew Ridley from the University of Oxford was awarded first place and the competition cash prize of £5,000. Junjin Chen from the University of Sheffield placed second and Eddie Rolls from the University of Oxford placed third, with each awarded cash prizes of £2,000 and £1,000, respectively. In the newly-introduced under-18 category, the top performer, Ethan Wood from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, was awarded a cash prize of £1,000.

Entrants for this year’s competition ranged in age from 16 to 25 and spanned the educational spectrum from GCSE to PhD level. Institutions from across the EU, including secondary schools, sixth form colleges and universities were represented.

This year, contestants were tasked with controlling a player in Man AHL’s homemade bee-based game HiveMinder by writing code in the Python programming language, which Man AHL utilises for its systematic models. Over 63,000 lines of code were submitted and hundreds of CPU cores were then put to work to determine the finalists, processing over 1.5 million moves with a run-time of approximately 450 CPU hours.

The top seven contestants were invited to Man AHL’s offices for the live final ‘Code Off’, where they had two hours to adapt their initial submission to tackle a new element in the game. The game involved writing code to avoid the bee game pieces getting trapped in Venus Bee Traps and the algorithms were then pitted against each other to determine the eventual winner. All seven competition finalists, as well as the under-18 category winner, will be invited to apply for an internship with Man AHL.

Sandy Rattray, CEO of Man AHL, said:

“I am delighted to award the Man AHL Coder Prize to Matthew Ridley from the University of Oxford, and want to congratulate each of our finalists for their impressive entries and their efforts at our Code Off. Congratulations also to Ethan Wood, the winner of our under-18 prize, whose entry demonstrates not only a real talent but, alongside our other diverse finalists, that success in coding is not dependent on a formal coding background. This is the second time we have run the competition and it has been fantastic once again to see such promising talent test their coding ability on our HiveMinder game. Coding is a core life skill in today’s world and through the Man AHL Coder Prize we aim to encourage the next generation of young people to try their hand at coding and build skills for their future. Thank you to everyone who entered this year and made the competition such a success.”

The seven Man AHL Coder Prize finalists were: Matthew Ridley (University of Oxford) – winner; Junjin Chen (University of Sheffield) – 2nd place; Eddie Rolls (University of Oxford) – 3rd place; Matthew Kerin (University of Oxford); Marios Mitalidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki); Lee Stothert (Durham University) and Paul Vanhaesebrouck (Imperial College). The under-18 winner is Ethan Wood (Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School).

Man AHL is a pioneer of systematic trading, bringing a scientific, empirical mind-set to investing. The firm’s technologists mix mathematics, computer science and vast amounts of data to understand the investment universe, working side by side with the investment teams.

Full-time students who wish to enter the next coding competition are encouraged to register their interest at the competition website: To join the conversation, visit us on Facebook at and follow on Instagram at man_ahl_coder_prize. For all things tech at Man AHL, follow @ManQuantTech on Twitter.

Man AHL would like to thank PythonAnywhere for its support of the Man AHL Coder Prize.


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