Suggestions / Considerations
Who owns the programs? My general feeling is to require everything to be open source, but Bart had a funny idea: if we have virtual firms, why not make a market where people can buy and sell shares in those firms for real money? Well, obviously no one will want to buy such shares but it still raises an important question. Can a program that successfully competes on virtual markets be valuable for real life applications? In any case, algorithms are not protected by copyright or patents, therefore the only way to protect an algorithm is to have it as a trade secrets. But that might create challenges for research collaboration. Any thoughts on the matter?
My grand idea is to make participation public and automatic: you register on the website, submit your program, and it starts competing right away. That creates a challenge, however, if all programs are in public access. Anyone can copy a successful program and submit it himself. There was a suggestion that public access can have a time delay. Say, you initial submission or any subsequent changes do become public but only a month (or so) later, so you always have a chance to have some edge over the competition. But that discussion is more for the future and is relevant only for a continuous competition. Right now, if we hold "rounds", that should not be an issue.