Frequently Asked Questions


What is Halite?

Halite (the game) is a multiplayer turn-based strategy game played on a rectangular grid; the objective of the game is to take over the entire grid and eliminate the other players in the game.
Halite (the tournament) is an online programming competition where human coders write bots that play the Halite game against each other.

Where does the game come from? Who invented it?

The Halite game was created by Benjamin Spector and Michael Truell during a summer internship at Two Sigma in 2016.
The game format is inspired by the 2011 Ants AI Challenge sponsored by Google.

Why did you invent it?

Halite’s creators heard about the Ants AI Challenge a few years too late :-(
They couldn’t find any other competitions quite like it, so they decided to create one.

About the Tournament

What's the goal of the competition?

The goal of Halite is to provide a fun and deep testbed to try new ideas and compete in problem-solving. Furthermore, Halite is being used for recruitment of talent by its sponsors.

Who is running the tournament?

The Halite game has been designed and implemented by Two Sigma, a highly-innovative, technological investment firm based in New York City.
The Halite tournament is jointly run with Cornell Tech, a new graduate school that brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age.

How long is the tournament?

The tournament will run from November 2, 2016 to February 2, 2017.

How are rankings computed?

Rankings are based on the outcome of organized games where bots play against each other. A good analogy is the Elo rating system used for chess.
More precisely, rankings are computed using a Bayesian algorithm variant of the Glicko system, specifically using the TrueSkill Python library available here.

How are the winners decided?

Winners are simply the highest ranked players on the leaderboard at the end of the competition. So, submit early and often!

Is there a prize for the winners?

Pride! Bragging rights! Internet royalty!
The results of the competition will be officially announced with a link to best players Github profiles.

What information do you store about me?

We store the email, username, and unique identifier that Github provides when you login to the website via Github OAuth.

How do you determine my organization?

We check to see if the domain of the email associated with your Github account is on our whitelist.

Is your organization not on there? Edit the whitelist and send us a pull request! We'll make sure to tag all members of your organization who have already signed up.

Bot Programming

Do I need to be a programmer to play the game?

Yes. Halite is a programming competition. You need to program a bot that will play the game in the Halite tournament.
However, you definitely don’t have to be a very good programmer to play Halite effectively. Success is more about coming up with a good strategy to play the game than coding this strategy expertly.

What languages does the game support?

Any and all! If the language can read from stdin and print to stdout, we can support it.
We provide out-of-the-box starter packages for the following languages: Python, Java and C++. See here for our growing list of starter packages.
We’re counting on the community to add support for as many languages as people want. Visit this page for more information on writing your own starter package and the protocol used by the game environment to talk to your bot.

How do I submit my bot?

To submit your bot, you'll first need to zip your source code. Then, after signing in, click the "Submit" button on the top-right part of the page. Then, simply select your zipped source code to submit.

The Code behind the Tournament

Is the code open source?

Check out our Github repo and you are also welcome (even encouraged) to open issues and/or submit pull requests.

How do I contribute to the game and/or report an issue?

You can open an issue or submit a pull request on our Github Repo. If you are looking for things to do, checkout our open issues.


I cannot find an answer to my question, what do I do?

Please check/post on the Halite forums or contact-us at

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