Monday, 2 March 2009

Happy 25th Birthday Core War

When David Jones and A. K. Dewdney produced their Core War Guidelines in March 1984, they could hardly have imagined the success it would achieve. Core War is still going strong 25 years later and I'd like to wish everyone in the Core War community a very happy birthday.

Core War, a Short History:

Shortly after the guidelines were complete, an article in Dewdney's Computer Recreations column in Scientific American introduce the world to Core War. The wheels on the Core War machine had been put in motion.

The following year the ICWS was formed to standardise and promote Core War, with Mark Clarkson as director. The ICWS published The Core Wars Standard and organised the First International Core War Tournament at the Computer Museum in Boston, Mass.

William R. Buckley began publication of The Core War Newsletter in early 1987, providing a forum for Core War players. Early issues covered what we now consider the basic techniques of Core War. Later issues discussed advance topics, for example the holy grail of Core War: self-repairing programs.

Core War, 25 Years On:

Fast forward to 2009. Dozens of players are competing on the Core War hills and the possibilities seem endless. I can't help wondering what a Core War player from 1984 would make of our battle programs, or if they ever imagined how we'd be creating them 25 years later. Computer optimized constants and evolved code are the order of the day.

The ICWS has fallen by the wayside, as has TCWN. However, a number of irregular Core War journals have florished and the online Core War community organise the occasional tournament as an alternative to competing on the hill.

Let's hope Core War is still going strong in 2034, to celebrate it's 50th birthday! :-)

More About Core War:

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Tracy Reed said...

"Dozens of players are competing on the Core War hills"

You call this going strong? I remember discovering Core War in 1993 or so. Even then there weren't many people playing it. About the same time I read about genetic algorithms and experimented a bit with evolving my own code. But the computers were just too slow then to really cover enough ground to come up with anything interesting. Then I lost interest and haven't heard about it since.

Roy van Rijn said...

You should revisit it then, computer power has increased a lot scince. There are now very interesting warriors being evolved. There are even online hills where evolved warrior are beating human-written warriors!

There are also whole new strategies evolved nowadays, like the evo-style paper :-)

Unknown said...

25th birthday!
Probably nobody expected CW would be active after 25 years.
It has advanced a lot through the years and there is still much to explore.
Congratulations redcoders!

Anonymous said...

This has been gift spotlighted on my blog from a fellow blogger to you. Thanks for a great post! :)

William R. Buckley said...

Thank you for the kind remarks regarding my work with Core War.

William R. Buckley