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Virtual robots developed by novice and veteran computer programmers will compete in a one-month stock investment contest starting Jan. 24.

The organizers — Waseda University, Nomura Research Institute Ltd. and IBM Japan Ltd. — are inviting participants to the KabuRobo Programming Contest, aimed at promoting computer programming. “Kabu” means stocks in Japanese.

Participants are asked to program robots on their personal computers to place buy and sell orders automatically for 40 stocks from among the benchmark Nikkei 225 average on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, in response to ups and downs in market prices and other factors, the organizers said.

Initial investment funds for the mock transactions will be 10 million yen.

Participants will vie for a 1.5 million yen prize, which will be shared by winners who have the highest investment performance.

The contestants will not be allowed to give additional commands to the robots once the contest begins.

Both rookie and veteran programmers are qualified to enroll free of charge, as are amateurs in the programming field, alone or in a team of up to three people, the organizers said.

Elementary school students can also take part if a member of the team is aged 18 or older.

For amateurs, the organizers have made available a special programming tool to help them devise their own virtual robots by responding to 15 questions on the Internet.

More information on entering the contest can be found at www.kaburobo.jp/

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