CRA Distributed Mentor Project -- Summer 2002

Nicole Dombeck (

Hi! I'm Nicole, and in the summer of 2002 I went to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island to participate in the CRA's Distributed Mentor Project. I'm a senior at Bucknell University majoring in computer science and working for a minor in creative writing. My hobbies are writing, drawing, karate, and computer games. This was my first summer with the project. I wish I had found out about it earlier and had more summers to participate in the project because this summer was great.

I mentored with Amy Greenwald on an agent called RoxyBot for the 2002 Trading Agent Competition (TAC). TAC is a competition where teams from all over the world write travel agents that bid on tickets in simultaneous auctions for eight clients. While RoxyBot itself has no real-world application, the algorithms and theories behind RoxyBot and the other agents may be helpful when computers start to be used for online auctions. You can learn more about TAC 2002 at their website. Amy and RoxyBot's have competed all three years in this competition, so most of my work this summer was with an existing program. I learned about the theories behind RoxyBot and a few other agents, but didn't do any real theorizing myself. I don't think AI is the computer field for me, but I still got a lot of experience and had a lot of fun working with the program. My main job on the project was to write a threaded version of RoxyBot. I also did a lot of debugging with the original program and wrote a Perl script to test different algorithms against each other in real TAC games.


Final Report