For the past two years I have been involved with a program we have here @ Microsoft called College Puzzle Challenge which as the website states is:
College Puzzle Challenge is an annual puzzle-solving competition held simultaneously on college campuses across North America. Teams of 4 participants compete against their peers to solve challenging puzzles and win exciting prizes. This year, College Puzzle Challenge organizers have teamed up with the international organization, S.O.L.V.E. (Special Operations for Location, Verification and Extraction), to explore the secrets of a mysterious island.
View the latest press release from S.O.L.V.E.
Last year I went back to the University of Michigan, where I went to college, and helped work on the ground crew. We worked with the students, fed them, and generally had a great day working out the puzzles and showing the students a good time. I never really was into puzzles much until I came to work here. There is a huge culture of puzzle events here @ Microsoft and this even is a great way for us to show people what the culture is like here. Amazingly the same people who love to solve puzzles also like to solve problems let it be coding, DIY stuff like from Make magazine, building robots or cars, etc. We are the tinkers and problem solvers (btw compared to most people I know I suck @ puzzles, I just like to help however I can).
I just wanted to blog about this because this is one of my side projects that I work on here @ Microsoft that isn't involved with my job, consider it my 20% time or something. I have been working on the website (along with some amazing people) and here it is: http://www.collegepuzzlechallenge.com/
If you attend one of the following schools:
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- University of Michigan
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Toronto
- University of Washington
I recommend that you find 3 other people and register your team! It will be held on Nov 11th, 2006 from 12noon ET to 12midnight ET, you get free food, free t-shirt and most importantly a chance to have a great time. See you there.