colonist writes "Tit for Tat, the reigning champion of the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Competition, has been defeated by a group of cooperating programs from the University of Southampton. The Prisoner's Dilemma is a game with two players and two possible moves: cooperate or defect. If the two players cooperate, they both have small wins. If one player cooperates and the other defects, the cooperator has a big loss and the defector has a big win. If both players defect, they both have small losses. Tit for Tat cooperates in the first round and imitates its opponent's previous move for the rest of the game. Tit for Tat is similar to the Mutual Assured Destruction strategy used by the two nuclear superpowers during the Cold War. Southampton's programs executed a known series of 5 to 10 moves which allowed them to recognize each other. After recognition, the two Southampton programs became 'master and slave': one program would keep defecting and the other would keep cooperating. If a Southampton program determined that another program was non-Southampton, it would defect." Update: 10/14 15:08 GMT by J : If anyone wants to try writing their own PD strategy and see how it fares in a Darwinian contest, I'll host a tournament of Slashdot readers. Here are the docs, sample code, notes on previous runs, and my email address.