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Humies - Call for Entries

Call For Entries
for 13th Annual (2016) "Humies" Awards
for Human-Competitive Results
Produced by Genetic and Evolutionary Computation


Entries are hereby solicited for awards totaling $10,000 for human-competitive results that have been produced by any form of genetic and evolutionary computation (including, but not limited to genetic algorithms, genetic programming, evolution strategies, evolutionary programming, learning classifier systems, grammatical evolution, gene expression programming, differential evolution, etc.) and that have been published in the open literature between the deadline for the previous competition and the deadline for the current competition.

The competition will be held as part of the 2016 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (GECCO) conference. Presentations of entries will be made at the conference. The winners of the awards will be announced during the conference. See http://gecco-2016.sigevo.org/

Important dates:

Wednesday June 1, 2016: Deadline for entries (consisting of one TEXT file and one or more PDF files). Send entries to koza@human-competitive.org.
Wednesday June 22, 2016: Finalists will be notified by e-mail.
Wednesday July 6, 2016: Finalists must submit their presentation (e.g., PowerPoint, PDF) for posting on the competition web site. Send presentations to koza@human-competitive.org.
Wednesday-Sunday July 20-24,2016: The GECCO conference.
Wednesday July 20, 2016 (TENTATIVE): Presentations before judging committee at public session of the GECCO conference.
Sunday July 24, 2016 : Announcement of awards at plenary session of the GECCO conference.

Judging commitee

  • Erik Goodman
  • Una-May O'Reilly
  • Wolfgang Banzhaf
  • Darrell Whitley
  • Lee Spector

Call for entries


Techniques of genetic and evolutionary computation are being increasingly applied to difficult real-world problems - often yielding results that are not merely academically interesting, but competitive with the work done by creative and inventive humans. Starting at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) in 2004, cash prizes have been awarded for human-competitive results that had been produced by some form of genetic and evolutionary computation in the previous year.

This prize competition is based on published results. The publication may be a paper at the GECCO conference (i.e., regular paper, poster paper, or any other full-length paper), a paper published anywhere in the open literature (e.g., another conference, journal, technical report, thesis, book chapter, book), or a paper in final form that has been unconditionally accepted by a publication and is “in press” (that is, the entry must be identical to something that will be published imminently without any further changes). The publication may not be an intermediate or draft version that is still subject to change or revision by the authors or editors. The publication must meet the usual standards of a scientific publication in that it must clearly describe a problem, the methods used to address the problem, the results obtained, and sufficient information about how the work was done in order to enable the work described to be independently replicated.

An automatically created result is considered "human-competitive" if it satisfies at least one of the eight criteria below.

(A) The result was patented as an invention in the past, is an improvement over a patented invention, or would qualify today as a patentable new invention.
(B) The result is equal to or better than a result that was accepted as a new scientific result at the time when it was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
(C) The result is equal to or better than a result that was placed into a database or archive of results maintained by an internationally recognized panel of scientific experts.
(D) The result is publishable in its own right as a new scientific result independent of the fact that the result was mechanically created.
(E) The result is equal to or better than the most recent human-created solution to a long-standing problem for which there has been a succession of increasingly better human-created solutions.
(F) The result is equal to or better than a result that was considered an achievement in its field at the time it was first discovered.
(G) The result solves a problem of indisputable difficulty in its field.
(H) The result holds its own or wins a regulated competition involving human contestants (in the form of either live human players or human-written computer programs).


Contestants should note that a pervasive thread in most of the above eight criteria is the notion that the result satisfy an "arms length" standard — not a yardstick based on the opinion of the author, the author's own institution (educational or corporate), or the author's own close associates. "Arms length" may be established in numerous ways. For example, if the result is a solution to "a long-standing problem for which there has been a succession of increasingly better human-created solutions," it is clear that the scientific community (not the author, the author's own institution, or the author's close associates) have vetted the significance of the problem. Similarly, a problem's significance may be established if the result replicates or improves upon a scientific result published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, replicates or improves upon a previously patented invention, constitutes a patentable new invention, or replicates or improves a result that was considered an achievement in its field at the time it was first discovered. Similarly, a problem's significance may be established if the result holds its own or wins a regulated competition involving live human players or human-written computer programs. In each of the foregoing examples, the standard for human-competitiveness is being established external to the author, the author's own institution, or the author's close associates. It is also conceivable to rely only on criterion G ("The result solves a problem of indisputable difficulty in its field"); however, if only criterion G is claimed, there must be a clear and convincing argument that the problem's "difficulty" is indeed "indisputable".

The competition will be held as part of the annual Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (GECCO) conference. Presentations of entries are to be made at the conference. The awards and prizes will be announced at the conference.

Cash prizes of $5,000 (gold), $3,000 (silver), and bronze (either one prize of $2,000 or two prizes of $1,000) will be awarded for the best entries that satisfy one or more of the criteria for human-competitiveness. The awards will be divided equally among co-authors unless the authors specify a different division at the time of submission. Prizes are paid by check in U.S. dollars after the GECCO conference. The judges may, based on submissions, rearrange the prize amounts and prize categories within the total amount available for prizes.

Detailed instructions for entering the "Humies"


If you plan to make an entry into this competition, please check the web site at http://www.human-competitive.org for updated information and for possible changes immediately prior to submitting your entry.

If you make an entry, please re-check the web site prior to the conference for possible changes in the instructions or the schedule.

All entries are to be sent electronically to koza@human-competitive.org. All entries will be promptly acknowledged, so please make an inquiry if you do not receive a reasonably prompt acknowledgement shortly after your submission.

An entry must consist of one TEXT file and one or more PDF files. If the same authors are making multiple entries, please submit separate e-mails, each containing the required TEXT file and PDF file(s) supporting the entry.

The TEXT file must contain the following 10 items. Please be very careful to include ALL required information.
Contestants are alerted to the fact that items 6 and 9 are especially important and will be the main basis by which entries will be judged. The papers and presentations from earlier competitions (starting in 2004) are posted at the competition web site at www.human-competitive.org. These previous entries may be informative and helpful in crafting your entry.

1. the complete title of one (or more) paper(s) published in the open literature describing the work that the author claims describes a human-competitive result;
2. the name, complete physical mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of EACH author of EACH paper(s);
3. the name of the corresponding author (i.e., the author to whom notices will be sent concerning the competition);
4. the abstract of the paper(s);
5. a list containing one or more of the eight letters (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H) that correspond to the criteria (see above) that the author claims that the work satisfies;
6. a statement stating why the result satisfies the criteria that the contestant claims (see examples of statements of human-competitiveness as a guide to aid in constructing this part of the submission);
7. a full citation of the paper (that is, author names; publication date; name of journal, conference, technical report, thesis, book, or book chapter; name of editors, if applicable, of the journal or edited book; publisher name; publisher city; page numbers, if applicable);
8. a statement either that "any prize money, if any, is to be divided equally among the co-authors" OR a specific percentage breakdown as to how the prize money, if any, is to be divided among the co-authors;
9. a statement stating why the authors expect that their entry would be the "best," and
10. an indication of the general type of genetic or evolutionary computation used, such as GA (genetic algorithms), GP (genetic programming), ES (evolution strategies), EP (evolutionary programming), LCS (learning classifier systems), GE (grammatical evolution), GEP (gene expression programming), DE (differential evolution), etc.


The PDF file(s) are to contain the paper(s). The strongly preferred method is that you send a separate PDF file for each of your paper(s) relating to your entry. Both the text file and the PDF file(s) for each entry will be permanently posted on a web page shortly after the deadline date for entries (for use by the judges, conference attendees, and anyone else who is interested) and will remain posted on the web as a permanent record of the competition. If your paper is only available on the publisher's web site and your publisher specifically requires that your published paper may appear only on your own personal page, the second choice is that you send link(s) to a separate web page on your web site containing link(s) to the PDF file(s) of the paper(s) that constitute your entry. This separate web page is to contain nothing else, so the interested parties may quickly locate your paper(s). If you use this second-choice option, you must ALSO supply a link to a permanent web site maintained by your publisher where your specific paper may be viewed or purchased (that is, not a link merely to the publisher's general home page, but a link to the specific web page containing your paper on the publisher's site). The objective, in each case, is to provide a permanent record of the entries and to make it easy for anyone to locate your material.

Generally, only one paper should be submitted. Note that this is a competition involving a result that satisfies the criteria for being human-competitive (not a competition involving an evaluation of the author's entire body of work). More than one paper should be submitted only if no single paper fully describes the specific result or method.

The judging committee will review all entries and identify a short list for presentation at the GECCO conference. Finalists will be notified by an e-mail to the corresponding author. Please acknowledge receipt of this message, so the judges know that you received your notice. Finalists must then make a short oral presentation to the judging committee at a public session of the GECCO conference. The presentations will be held on one of the early days of the conference, and the winners will be announced a day or two later at the conference.

Finalists must submit their presentation (e.g., a PowerPoint, PDF) by e-mail to koza@human-competitive.org. All submissions will be promptly acknowledged, so please make an inquiry if you do not receive a reasonably prompt acknowledgement. These presentations will be posted on the web page for the competition.

At the GECCO conference, there will be 10-minute oral presentations by the finalists to the judging committee.
The presentations will be open to all conference attendees at a special session of the conference. The oral
presentation should primarily focus on

1. why the result qualifies as being human-competitive and
2. why the judges should consider the entry as "best" in comparison to other entries that may also be "human-competitive" (because, as previously mentioned, these are the two main standards by which entries will be judged by the judges).


In the short oral presentation to the judges, a description of the work itself is decidedly secondary. By the time of the presentation the judges will be familiar with the papers. Thus, the focus of the presentation is on reasons why the work being presented should win a prize - not an explanation or presentation of the work itself.

In the unlikely event that a presenter is scheduled to make a presentation elsewhere at the GECCO conference at the same time, please notify the judging committee, so they can rearrange time slots.

After the oral presentations, the award committee will meet and consider the presentations.

The presenting author for each entry must register for the GECCO conference.

A judge will recuse himself or herself if he or she is closely associated with a finalist (e.g., a current academic advisor, current collaborator, co-author with the finalist of related work).

Additional information is at www.human-competitive.org.