Google-owned DeepMind is celebrating a remarkable achievement in competitive computer programming. This artificial intelligence company has ranked in the top 54% after simulating 10 contests with more than 5,000 participants. DeepMind said that the current abilities could not immediately be applied to other forms of coding. There was still work to do to bring it up to the same level as top-performing humans.

During training, the problems in the competitions are not seen by the AI. So, a combination of critical thinking, logic, algorithms, coding, and natural language understanding are required to solve them. The problems include finding ways to place roads and buildings within certain constraints. The competitors also have to create strategies to win board games.

Google software engineer and competitive programmer Petr Mitrichev said, “Solving competitive programming problems is a really hard thing to do, requiring both good coding skills and problem-solving creativity.”

Principal research scientist of DeepMind, Oriol Vinyals said, “I have been fascinated by programming competitions my whole life.” He also said that being part of the team AlphaCode was “a dream come true”.

The founder of the platform Codeforces Mike Mirzayanov called AlphaCode a “promising new competitor”. He said, “I can safely say that the results of AlphaCode exceeded my expectations.” Then he added, “I was skeptical because even in simple competitive problems it is often required not only to implement the algorithm but also – and this is the most difficult part – to invent it.”