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'[OT]: topcoders: competition among coders'
2005\12\30@143248 by Peter

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A great site:

http://www.topcoder.com/

Is anyone on this list competing there ?

Peter

2005\12\30@192517 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 30, 2005, at 11:32 AM, Peter wrote:
>
> http://www.topcoder.com/
> Is anyone on this list competing there ?
>
As I've become older and perhaps "more professional", I've become
increasingly negative about programming "contests"; they are just
TOO far removed from what makes a successful product in the real
world.  It's like comparing a week-long homework assignment in
university to a year-long 20-person development team...  One of
the aspects most sorely missing from the contest mentality is
teamwork and cooperation within a larger organization/environment
(which includes customers, even if you ARE a "lone programmer.")

BillW

2005\12\31@082735 by olin piclist

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William Chops Westfield wrote:
> As I've become older and perhaps "more professional", I've become
> increasingly negative about programming "contests"; they are just
> TOO far removed from what makes a successful product in the real
> world.

I agree completely.

> It's like comparing a week-long homework assignment in
> university to a year-long 20-person development team...  One of
> the aspects most sorely missing from the contest mentality is
> teamwork and cooperation within a larger organization/environment
> (which includes customers, even if you ARE a "lone programmer.")

Another aspect that bugs me is how much of it is based on how fast you can
write something.  In the real world fast is good, but that's measured in
days or weeks not minutes.  Competing on speed at the level of minutes
forces a lot of the wrong practises for producing good real world code.

This is also the thing I don't like about the Microchip Masters robotic
contest and why I refuse to participate.  They give you a bunch of low level
routines already written and you're supposed to add the application layer in
a couple of hours or so.  This means many of the design decisions have
already been made and there much opportunity for thinking outside the box
has been eliminated.

If they wanted to do it right, they'd release the specs for the robot with
schematics and problem description a month before Masters.  There'd be no
code at all on the PIC.  You could come up with whatever solution you wanted
to, and then use the time at Masters for final debug and test.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2005\12\31@094636 by Danny Sauer

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William wrote regarding 'Re: [OT]: topcoders: competition among
coders' on Fri, Dec 30 at 18:26:
> As I've become older and perhaps "more professional", I've become
> increasingly negative about programming "contests"; they are just
> TOO far removed from what makes a successful product in the real
> world.

Perhaps you'd find the Computer Language Shootout to be a little more
appealing?  http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/  Basically, the point
is to implement several interesting algorithms in several different
languages, to better quantify what languages are better at in terms of
lines of code required, speed, memory space, etc.  I've contributed
and tuned on several of the programs and found it to be a reasonably
pleasant way to spend an hour or two thinking about optimization
tradeoffs, etc.  It's also not for any particular personal glory -
it's just about completing the dataset and generally helping to better
understand what different languages are good at.

Or maybe that's detached from reality using boiled down code snippets
which aren't repreasentative of complex systems.  Either way... :)

--Danny


'[OT]: topcoders: competition among coders'
2006\01\01@022306 by kravnus wolf
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--- Olin Lathrop <spam_OUTolin_piclistTakeThisOuTspamembedinc.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Talking about coding contest...... If the problem was
book case senario, good but what if it is a unique
case?
Would the question be a mere challenge or a good
exercise?
Some of the question are kind of lobsided..... Based
more on
knowledge, for example graph theory and etc..... Plus
maths...
I am not hammering that the questions are bad but do
we measure
whether the programmer can provide the ans. in the
shortest time possible by REMEMBERING how to apply his
book knowledge?! Does it
make me a poor programmer by not applying my
"forgotten" knowledge . A programmer should be
measured on how they GET things done. Of course it
becomes subjective on what to measure......






{Quote hidden}

Interesting contest in the world of LEGO...... Reminds
me of
hammer and nails solution. True there is no color to
the contest!

John


               
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2006\01\02@003707 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 31, 2005, at 11:23 PM, kravnus wolf wrote:

> Talking about coding contest...... If the problem was
> book case senario, good but what if it is a unique case?
> Would the question be a mere challenge or a good exercise?

FWIW, I really like the things that end up as "coding contests"
on PICList.  The exchange, refinement, and bug fixing that happens
much more resembles real life, and is fun to watch, educational
in both the explanations and thought processes that show up, and
useful in the results...  They're nothing like what most people
think of as contests, though...

That's because...  You know the old saying about no one ever
remembers who comes in second?  Well, contests in general and
the current crop of TV-style contests in particular seem to
spend a awful lot of time believing and re-enforcing that view,
but it's basically bull.  Want to have a contest that starts
with 10,000 recent grads and keeps applying contests till they
wind up with the one winning "american geek idol"?  Great.  You
keep your winner, and I'll happily hire the next 5.  Or any 5 in
the top 20.  Or any 10 from the top 100 for that matter.  The
real world isn't about finding the BEST person to do anything.
It's about getting things DONE.

(cisco prides itself in hiring "the top 5%" of the applicant pool
(a source of many a nasty comment when we're annoyed at some
fellow employee :-)  From the 10,000 candidates I mention above,
that's 500 people.  And we need them all (or did, back before
bubbles bursting...))

BillW

2006\01\02@053744 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> That's because...  You know the old saying about no one ever
> remembers who comes in second?

James "wrong way" Mollison
Or Bert Hinkler.
Or Amelia Earhart

Depending who you believe and exactly which question you ask.
Interestingly, two of the above were married (to each other :-) ) for
a while - something I didn't know until a few minutes ago.



       RM



2006\01\02@113429 by Nelson Johnsrud

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Russell McMahon wrote:

>James "wrong way" Mollison
>Or Bert Hinkler.
>Or Amelia Earhart
>
>Depending who you believe and exactly which question you ask.
>Interestingly, two of the above were married (to each other :-) ) for
>a while - something I didn't know until a few minutes ago.
>
>  
>

Wasn't it Douglas "wrong way" Corrigan?  He flew from New York to Dublin
after filing a flight plan to California.  He had been denied permission
to make a sanctioned trans-Atlantic flight because the reviewers would
not certify his plane.  He filed a California flight plan, and took off
in a fog.  He was ordered by officials to take off eastward from the
field due to the fog (city was to the west of the airfield), but he
never turned around . . .

James Mollison did the first East-West crossing, but IIRC this was after
Amelia Earhart did her own crossing.  James Mollison married Amy Johnson
(another famous female stunt aviator) for awhile.  I am not aware of any
marital connection of any of the above with Amelia Earhart, but I'm no
expert.

Nels

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