Social Learning Strategies Tournament

The tournament is now complete!


20 March 2009: Stage II, the 'melee' round, was completed in early January and now we have finished checking the results, so we can announce that the tournament is complete! We congratulate Dan Cownden and Tim Lillicrap of Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, whose strategy discountmachine emerged as the convincing winner of the tournament. Dan and Tim will be presented with their 10,000 Euro prize at the EHBEA 2009 conference in St Andrews in April 2009. We also congratulate Ralph Barton and Joshua Brolin, who are both pupils at Westminster School, UK, whose strategy, whenTheGoingGetsToughGetScrounging, placed 9th in Stage I. It is a tremendous achievement for these young students to have done so well in this competition, in which the vast majority of entrees were by professional academics. In recognition of this achievement, Ralph and Joshua are to be awarded the prize of 1000 pounds for the best entry from a school.

Full details of the results and prcedures adopted are available in a PDF file here. We are currently analysing the results further and aim to ultimately publsh a scientific paper detailing the whole tournament

We would like to thank once again everyone who took part in the strategy, and also the committee members, Rob Boyd, Marc Feldmand, Kimmo Eriksson and Magnus Enquist.


28 November 2008: Stage I, the pairwise round, is now complete! After over 100,000 simulations, taking approximately 64,000 hours of CPU time (for which we gratefully acknowledge the the UK National Grid Service), the first stage of the tournament is complete. The ten strategies that performed well enough to progress onto the second stage of the tournament are, in alphabetical order:


We congratulate the authors of the succesful strategies and commiserate with the authors of the strategies that did not progress while at the same time expressing our warmest thanks once again to all who participated. More details of the results and prcedures adopted are available in a PDF file here. The tournament now progresses to the second stage, where the ten progressing strategies will compete simultaneously in a range of conditions; we do not anticipate this stage taking as long as the first and hope to announce the final winner in the new year.


1 July 2008: Many thanks to everyone who has submitted an entry. We were delighted to receive 104 entries from 16 countries. Entries came from a large range of sources including academics from numerous fields (Biology, Physics, Management, Psychology, Anthropology, Interdisciplinary centres, Ethology, Environmental science, Primatology, Sociology, Mathematics, Computer science, Philosophy and Engineering), as well as non-academics, families, and school classes. Now the work starts in evaluating the strategies. We will post updates on our progress here, so watch this space!


Full details of the tournament rules and how to enter are given in the following document. The closing date for entries has now passed, so they are here for reference only.

If you have any questions please contact the tournament organiser, Luke Rendell.