[python-uk] Tell us what you did with Python this year....

Matthew Turnbull mattcturnbull at googlemail.com
Tue Dec 21 13:22:32 CET 2010

For a while now I've been interested in sports / games 'ratings'
systems. Some years back I collected results from weekly football
games and wanted a way to score individual players from team score
results (the teams change each week) - ultimately I wanted to help
pick balanced teams). This year I set up a company table tennis ladder
on racquetladder.com but was desperately unhappy with the ranking
system - the winner / loser simply switch (or stick) ranks, which is
terribly unstable (although very transparent). So I made a python /
numpy implementation of Rémi Coulom's 'Whole History Rating'
algorithm, and experimented a little with creating 'interactive' SVG
plots of the results.

Then I took part in the Planetwars "Google" AI challenge, and chose to
use Python, thinking it would be dominated by clever heuristics rather
than brute calculation. Top UK Python entry (*bow*) but, sadly, other
languages dominated. Interestingly, they used Coulom's 'Bayeselo' to
rate the entries, about which there was much griping, but nobody could
think of a better way to do it -- I think generally people
underestimated just how powerful Bayeselo is, and besides, those
people were all over on kaggle.com where they concurrently had a
'design a better Elo' competition! So, for me it was an interestingly
coincidental year.

Oh, I also went to a London Dojo -- it was a lot of fun and I hope to
go again. I don't really have any projects on the go at the moment so
2011 is a blank slate. Definitely want to win the next ai challenge :)

Nice to have a chance to talk about these things.

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