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Man AHL announces winner of inaugural coding prize

15 February 2016

Man AHL, Man Group’s diversified quantitative investment manager, is delighted to announce the winner of the inaugural Man AHL Coder Prize, a coding competition for students aged 16 and over. Hamed Ahmadi from the University of Oxford, Linacre College was awarded the competition cash prize of £5,000 while Mihail Dunaev, from the University of Edinburgh was named competition runner up.

Hamed’s coding skills were ranked first among entries received from 80 full-time students, ranging in age from 16 to 34 and spanning the educational spectrum from GCSE to PHD level. Entrants hailed from 31 institutions across the UK and Ireland, including secondary schools, sixth form colleges and universities. Man AHL received over 550 registrations of interest through its website and has committed to run the competition again, given the level of interest and calibre of candidates that entered.

Contestants were initially tasked with writing code in the Python programming language, which Man AHL utilises for its systematic models, to control a player in a game of Hexplode1. Over 19,000 lines of code were submitted and hundreds of CPU cores were then put to work to determine the finalists, running over 10,200 games of Hexplode with a run-time of approximately 1,083 CPU hours.

The live final ‘Code Off’ saw the top eight contestants invited to Man AHL’s offices, where they had two hours to adapt their initial submission to tackle a new element in the game. The codes were then pitted against each other to determine the eventual winner. All eight competition finalists will have the opportunity to apply for an internship with Man AHL this summer.

Sandy Rattray, CEO of Man AHL, said:

“I am thrilled to award the inaugural Man AHL Coder Prize to Hamed Ahmadi from the University of Oxford, Linacre College and to congratulate all of our eight impressive finalists, who excelled against a very strong set of competition entrants. I would also like to thank everyone who entered the Man AHL Coder Prize for their efforts in developing their Hexplode algorithms. The competition brought together some of the UK and Ireland’s most promising coding talent, testing their ability to harness Python in a systematic and innovative way. As a technology-driven investment business, Man AHL’s success is founded on attracting this calibre of talent and ideas.”

The eight Man AHL Coder Prize finalists are: Hamed Ahmadi (University of Oxford, Linacre College) – Winner; Mihail Dunaev (University of Edinburgh) – Runner Up; Marian Andrecki (Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities), Tony Barker (University of Cambridge, Pembroke College), Oisín Carroll (Trinity College Dublin), Oisín Faust (University of Cambridge, Christ’s College), David Phillips (Trinity College Dublin) and Antoine Saillant (University of Oxford, Wolfson College).

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 terabytes 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: www.ahl.com/coderprize. To join in the conversation, visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/manahlcoderprize and for all things technology at Man AHL, follow @ManAHLTech on Twitter.

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

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