A $30 billion hedge fund had staff program a robot to play air hockey in the hope it would make them better at making money

Two Sigma, the $30 billion hedge fund that uses advanced technologies to find investment opportunities, just hosted its annual artificial intelligence competition.

The fund asks its staff to program AI systems and then have them compete with each other for the TS Cup.

This year the game was air hockey. That’s right. A hedge fund gave staff time off to build an AI system to play air hockey. 

The competition has a serious side, of course. In hosting the competition, Two Sigma hopes that staff are able to experiment with emerging technologies, which in turn may make them better at their own job, which is to make money.   

“When you give people some time away from their desks to be creative, a lot of innovation can happen,” Mark Roth, head of architecture at Two Sigma, explains in a video of the event. 

“When they are working on these activities, they are using programming languages they have never used before, they are using libraries they have never experimented with before.”

The competition had a human bracket and a machine bracket, with the two respective champions meeting in the final. You can see what happened next here:

 

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