Bracket winners!
2016.11.07 12:31 EDT

Using the finest random numbers from, we have chosen the bracket winners for this contest! They are as follows.

For Build:

  • The bracket for 4-5, for $500.00, went to team tos

  • The bracket for 6-7, for $375.00, went to team KOLD

  • The bracket for 8-10, for $250.00, went to team PersianCats

  • The bracket for 11-13, for $125.00, went to team Pathetic

For Break:

  • The bracket for 4-5, for $562.00, went to team fivedollarwrench

  • The bracket for 6-7, for $375.00, went to team ProvablyWrong

  • The bracket for 8-9, for $187.00, went to team UVMSEC

If you couldn't watch the stream live, it is recorded, here.

Congratulations and thanks to our contestants!

Streaming via twitch
2016.11.07 12:14 EDT

It looks like google hangouts is not working. We are trying twitch now. Here is the link:


2016.11.07 09:48 EDT

Scores on the scoreboard are now final.

Congratulations to teams BreakAndBuild, A20, and CyberGo for taking first, second, and third place as Coursera builders! We'd also like to congratulate teams CyberGo, CodeBreakers, and Anomalies for first, second, and third place as Coursera breakers! If you are a Coursera capstone participant, we will input your final grades in the next few days.

For the open participants, teams f00d, fivedollarwrench, and ProvablyWrong took first, second, and third as builders, while teams f00d, tos, and c0dingRabbits won first, second, and third, as breakers! We will livestream the prize winners selection for each bracket tomorrow morning (November 7, 2016) at 11am EST via google hangouts. One team from each bracket will be randomly selected to receive the prize money for that bracket.

Here is the bracket breakdown for non-Coursera builders:

     Place(s)         Payout ($)             Team(s)
  ===========         ==========             ===========

        First            2500.00             f00d

       Second            1500.00             fivedollarwrench

        Third             750.00             ProvablyWrong

  [  4 -   5]             500.00             tos, cherrypits

  [  6 -   7]             375.00             c0dingRabbits, KOLD

  [  8 -  10]             250.00             UniversityOfEdinburgh, ErrorStorm, PersianCats

  [ 11 -  13]             125.00             c633, Pathetic, rip_charles

Here is the bracket breakdown for non-Coursera breakers:

    Place(s)       Payout ($)        Team(s)
  ===========      ==========        ===========

        First        2500.00         f00d

       Second        1500.00         tos

        Third         750.00         c0dingRabbits

  [  4 -   5]         562.00         KOLD, fivedollarwrench

  [  6 -   7]         375.00         cherrypits, ProvablyWrong

   [  8 -  9]         187.00         COS432Team, UVMSEC

Fix-it round begins
2016.10.20 19:51 EDT

The fix-it round has begun! This is an opportunity to gain build-it points back. Here is the fix specification.

Break-it Round Extension
2016.10.17 16:20 EDT

The break-it round has been extended to Tuesday (10/18/16) at 8pm EST. Good luck with finishing out the round!

Prize Pool
2016.10.14 12:46 EDT

For this year's non-Coursera participants, we will award prizes using the following method. All participants, no matter where you end up in the standings, have a shot at winning a prize (but higher is better).

There are two categories, Build it and Break it, with a full slate of prizes in each category.

Within a category, the top three scorers earn $2500, $1500, and $750 for first, second, and third prize, respectively.

In addition, there are prizes awarded for remaining participants. These participants are broken into multiple brackets depending on the number of qualifying participants, with a prize amount assigned for each bracket. Higher-scoring brackets are assigned higher prize values. For example, since there are 13 qualifying non-Coursera builders, the builder prize pool will look like:

     Place(s)         Payout ($)        Pr. Win (%) 

  ===========         ==========        ===========

        First            2500.00             100.00

       Second            1500.00             100.00

        Third             750.00             100.00

  [  4 -   5]             500.00              50.00

  [  6 -   7]             375.00              50.00

  [  8 -  10]             250.00              33.33

  [ 11 -  13]             125.00              33.33

At the conclusion of the final round we will post the brackets and prize amounts, and indicate which teams are in which brackets.

Then we will livestream us using to randomly choose a winning team from each bracket. Then we will post the final results with the winners.

Performance Number Updates
2016.10.14 12:30 EDT

To ensure that performance numbers are accurate, we reran each performance test offline on raw hardware 11 times and took the median. These numbers are now up to date on the website.

Break-it Round Begins!
2016.10.06 20:14 EDT

The break-it round has begun! The break-it specification is now available. You can find the builder's source code by visiting your participation page and clicking on Builder's Code in the sidebar. We will turn on the testing infrastructure and start taking submissions soon.

Build-it Round Extension and VM Update
2016.10.03 17:07 EDT

Due to some challenges with our infrastructure, contestants have sometimes had difficulty testing their submissions. To accommodate this difficulty, we are extending the submission deadline by one day.

In short: The build-it phase deadline is now Oct 4 at 8pm ET.

We apologize to those of you who have worked hard to make tonight's deadline, but we think it only fair to those who have struggled that give them a little more time to get their code to work.

We've also release a VM update. You can install it via the following:

curl -sSf | sudo sh

Updated Test Bundle
2016.10.01 21:29 EDT

We have updated the test bundle to include a script that should help you debug your implementations. Given your server and an input test file, it will run the given test while printing everything that is sent and received. It will also check your output against the expected output. Here's an example of how to run it:

./ ../server test4.json

Good luck with the rest of the build-it round!

Second VM Update
2016.09.29 17:08 EDT

The second VM update is available. You can install it via the following:

curl -sSf | sudo sh

If you need additional packages, email us to let us know.

First VM Update
2016.09.26 15:37 EDT

The first VM update is available. You can install it via the following:

curl -sSf | sudo sh

If you need additional packages, email us to let us know.

Test bundle
2016.09.25 04:25 EDT

We've released the test bundle. You can run a test by running the script with your server executable and the test file. Here's an example:

$ ./ ../server test1.json

This will return a result like the following:


We expect to turn on the automatic testing infrastructure tomorrow.

Specification Updates
2016.09.24 02:10 EDT

We have made some updates to the problem specification. The changes are summarized at the top of the document. Notice that we have modified the grammar to include the keyword *** which terminates the program.

Fall 2016 Contest Begins!
2016.09.22 20:16 EDT

The contest problem is now available.

The description is long, but this is not because the project is terribly complicated, but because we are trying to be as clear as possible. Skim over the start of it for the basic idea and then navigate around the writeup for details.

You have until 8pm ET on October 3 to complete the project. Each time you push updates to the Git repository you have shared with us, we will download, build, and test your project. Your score will be updated on the build-it site.

We will shortly be providing a script that you can download that, when run within your VM, will update it to include additional packages requested by others. Make sure your code always builds and runs on the up-to-date VM.

We will also be providing, shortly, a set of tests you can use to test your project locally. These match the tests we will use to score your project on the contest site.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to request additional packages, please contact us at

Good luck, and have fun!

Contest starts Thursday!
2016.09.21 11:10 EDT

The build-it round will start this Thursday at 8pm EDT! We will post the problem specification at that time.

In the meantime, you can prepare by downloading the contest VM and (optionally) request package installs.

All projects must compile and build on this VirtualBox-compatible Ubuntu Linux virtual machine. The username for the VM is "ubuntu", and the password is "ubuntu". You can download Virtual Box for free. You can also get a free VMware player and convert the VM to that, if you wish.

Whichever route you take being able to use the VM, make sure you try it out ASAP, letting us know if you run into problems. If you find that our Ubuntu image does not have a software package installed that you would like, let us know by emailing and we will update it. No package requests will be accepted after 8pm on Wednesday, Oct 7.

As contest packages are accumulated by requests, we will distribute a script to allow you to easily install them to update your local VM.

If you are looking for a team, email us and we will try to help you find a team to join.

Once you have formed your team, you should create a git repository. Git is a version control system. The BIBIFI site interfaces with it to access your most recent submission. There are several tutorials on Git, if you are unfamiliar with it; one is here.

You must use either Gitlab, Github, or Bitbucket, which offer free repositories. We recommend you use a private repository, visible to only your team. On Github, these are free for educational use, on request. On Bitbucket, you must set your repository to private explicitly.

Once you have created your repository, share it (read-only) with user bibifi; we own this username on Gitlab, Github, and Bitbucket.


Build It Round

2016.09.22 20:00 EDT - 2016.10.04 20:00 EDT

Break It Round

2016.10.06 20:00 EDT - 2016.10.18 20:00 EDT

Fix It Round

2016.10.20 20:00 EDT - 2016.10.31 20:00 EDT