The Matching Pennies Prize

The Matching Pennies Prize

This site offers a prize for tournament winners.

The prize will be known as The Matching Pennies Prize.

We plan to offer the prize on a regular basis in the future.

Prize rules

In addition to the tournament rules, those entering the prize should:

  • Open source - To be eligible for the prize, programs must be under an OSI-approved open source license, or - preferably - in the public domain.

  • Email - Participants must have a reasonable level of access to email - so they can make submissions, and be notified of the results;

  • PayPal - Participants must consent to being paid via PayPal - in the event that they win. Payments can be made in other ways - but if no arrangement can be made, PayPal must be acceptable;

  • If a house robot wins - the prize will be awarded to the next-best external competitor;

  • No nepotism - The tournament organisers, their agents and their family, may not enter the prize contest;

  • Complaints - The judge's decision about who gets the prize is final.

Prize notes

If you are not writing in Java, you will need to make sure that the organisers have the ability to compile and/or execute your code - in order to verifiably fulfill the "open source" requirement.

Binary submissions of compiled code in any language will not be eligible to compete for the prize. If you are using an unusual environment, you might want to contact the tournament organisers early on - to help ensure that you are able to meet this requirement.

The prize money may - at the discretion of the tournament organisers - be split among the entrants, under the following constraints:

  • The first prize will not be less than 50% of the total prize money;
  • The first prize will go to the top-scoring competitor in the tournament;
  • No more than two other prizes may be awarded;
If awarded, these other prizes are likely to be heavily influenced by tournament rank - but we may consider other factors - such as innovation, code readability, differences from other entries, etc.

A single team could potentially win more than one prize - by making multiple entries.

Note that obfuscation (and program compaction) are considered to be against the spirit of the prize. Obfuscation is not forbidden by the rules - and won't prevent a program winning first prize - but it might prevent people from winning the runner-up prizes.


Participants may want to announce their participation in the prize - for example, to help put off other candidates. If they want to publicly contribute any of the less-successful agents they have, that might help to put other candidates off as well.

Participants can submit entries at any time. They won't be made public until the prize is awarded.

The tournament organisers will not enter into correspondence about submitted entrants.

There is not too much point in submitting entrants that do not score pretty highly - compared to the supplied house robots.

Prize motivation

Some people are interested in helping develop intelligent machines - but not all of those people have the skills required to contribute directly.

This site is intended to allow philanthropists to fund programmers interested in working on what appears to be a keystone problem - forecasting.

The fact that the resulting code goes into the public domain is intended to help ensure that humans benefit relatively equally from any resulting progress - rather than the benefits accruing mainly to a secretive elite.

For more details about the motivation for the project, see the introduction to the site.

Prize amounts

The 2011 prize fund currently stands at 200 US dollars.

Prize schedule

Entrants for the 2011 prize will be accepted until midnight on the 31st October 2011.

The prize will be awarded before the end of 2011.


You can donate to the prize fund using PayPal here:

You can also donate to the prize fund through SourceForge.

If you want to donate non-anonymously, then please remember tell us your name, handle or identifier in the notes of the donation.

Donations will be added to the current prize - or to the next one - at the discretion of the tournament organisers.

Donation amounts in excess of 5 dollars will be listed with dates, and identifiers (if supplied) on this site - so donors can verify their donations have been received. There may be some delay before donations are listed, though.


The 2011 prize was won by Russell Wallace. Congratulations to Russell!

Tim Tyler | Contact |