Setting a Guinness World Record with Amazon CodeGuru

My experience attending the first annual BugBust challenge at AWS re:Invent 2021

AWS BugBust, introduced in June 2021, is a global competition for Java and Python developers to fix 1 million bugs collectively. Organizations typically host internal BugBust competitions as friendly bug bashes that foster team building and gamify the task of improving code quality — with built-in leaderboards, challenges, and rewards.

The first annual AWS BugBust re:Invent Challenge occurred at AWS re:Invent 2021. I joined the competition virtually to help set a Guinness World Records (GWR) record. I was not alone; 613 developers worked together to set the “largest code debugging/bug fixing competition” record by fixing 30,667 bugs that saved $57,645,975.

I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “what an amazing achievement”! If so, you’re absolutely right! This achievement was no small feat to accomplish in just three days. Amazon CodeGuru (and all 613 developers) made this achievement possible!

GWR certificate earned by AWS and 613 developers on December 2, 2021.

Amazon CodeGuru uses machine learning to automate code reviews and find vulnerabilities in code — sounds cool, right? That’s because it is! Amazon CodeGuru currently supports Java, Java Virtual Machine (JVM) languages (e.g., Scala and Kotlin), and Python. Amazon CodeGuru has two components that provide intelligent recommendations — CodeGuru Reviewer and CodeGuru Profiler.

  • CodeGuru Reviewer uses machine learning to track down hard-to-find bugs. Once it analyzes your code, it provides code improvement recommendations.
  • CodeGuru Profiler optimizes performance and identifies the most expensive lines of code.

How was my experience participating in the challenge?

Participating in the multi-day challenge was a lot of fun! I started first with fixing bugs in my favorite programming language, Java. I fixed bugs of varying difficulty, with award points ranging from one to five points. On the last day of the challenge, I stepped outside of my comfort zone to fix Python bugs. I tackled bugs across several categories: Data Science, Machine Learning, DevOps, Blockchain, and more! I was happy to see that as I fixed more and more bugs, I moved up the leaderboard. The live leaderboard showcased my progress, including the number of bugs fixed and points received. Within the first few hours of the competition, I placed 9th on the leaderboard. My player’s name was “KeshaWillz(see image below).

KeshaWillz is showing up 9th on the leaderboard.

Unfortunately, my spot on the leaderboard was short-lived, lasting for (maybe) five minutes! By the time the challenge was over, I had officially fixed 83 bugs and placed 189 out of 613 developers. I was satisfied with my final placement because fixing bugs was a fun change of pace (and we set a world record).

What was the process to fix bugs?

The process to fix bugs was easy to follow. Once I logged into the dashboard, I reviewed the list of available bugs and claimed up to five bugs at once. There was a time limit, which motivated me to bust bugs with haste!

After I claimed the bugs, the next step was to fork the GitHub repository and fix the bug. I bet if you’re a programmer, you’re used to luxuries like a compiler when you’re coding, right? Well, in this case, I was coding directly in the GitHub UI and didn’t have that luxury. You will learn how good your coding skills are when writing Java or Python code without a compiler! I had to make sure not to make any syntax errors or typos by eyeballing the code instead. I can say that was the most fun part of the challenge!

Once I fixed the bugs, I submitted a PR (pull request). The PR activated Amazon CodeGuru to determine if my fix was acceptable. Once Amazon CodeGuru accepted my fix, I earned points and claimed more bugs.

The final winners were danielsoft, StevenVu, and Fereidooni. danielsoft walked away with the coveted title of “Ultimate AWS BugBuster” and a cash prize of $1,500.

I happily walked away with an AWS BugBust sanitizer and fly swatter. Additional prizes included an AWS BugBust glow-in-the-dark bug jar, hoodie, and a branded Echo Dot. For me, the real prize was helping AWS set a GWR record!

What’s next for you?

You can host your own AWS BugBust Challenge at your organization. When you create your first AWS BugBust event, you’re able to try Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer and CodeGuru Profiler out 90 days free with the AWS Free Tier. Under the AWS Free Tier, you’re also able to review up to 100k lines of code.

Before creating your first event, I recommend watching the following AWS re:Invent and Summit sessions. They’ll help you on your journey!

Let the bug busting begin!

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Kesha Williams is an award-winning technology leader. She’s also an AWS Machine Learning Hero, AWS Partner Ambassador, and Alexa Champion.

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Kesha Williams

Kesha Williams

Kesha Williams is an award-winning technology leader. She’s also an AWS Machine Learning Hero, AWS Partner Ambassador, and Alexa Champion.

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