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Geek Olympics Code for Gold

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the synchronized-clicking dept.

Programming 243

Haydn Fenton writes "Wired has a recent article on the16th annual IOI (that's International Olympiad in Informatics), taking place in Athens from Sept 11th to Sept 18th. The 304 programmers from 80 countries will be competing in 7 marathon programming sessions to determine the world's fastest coder. The computers are being supplied by Altec and contestants will have a choice of using either Windows XP or RedHat 9.0. More information can be found on the IOI Website."

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243 comments

Yey Baby! (5, Funny)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262227)

Do the female Geeks get to wear those hot outfits like the Olympic Vollyball teams???

Re:Yey Baby! (4, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262253)

Do we really want them to?

Most of the female geeks I've met haven't looked much better than their stereotypical male counterparts.

Re:Yey Baby! (1)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262279)

My sister is a geek, and she's very good looking. My programming teacher in High School was also a Chip-n-Dale (well worked at a bar where the dressed like them) not your typical Geek

Re:Yey Baby! (-1, Troll)

Albert Pussyjuice (675113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262347)

You've evaluated your sister's appearance and come to the conclusion that she's good looking? That's fairly gross. Do you want to fuck her? In the ass? Raw dog? Till she bleeds?

Well guess what, you can't fuck her raw dog in the ass till she bleeds, for two reasons.

1. Your dick isn't big enough to make a chick bleed from an anal pounding.
2. I've already split that whore's ass wide open. Not only could she take a five iron in the ass, she could take the whole fucking set of clubs.

In conclusion, you're a douchebag and I hate you.

Re:Yey Baby! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262443)

You've evaluated your sister's appearance and come to the conclusion that she's good looking?

He said she was very good looking.

Re:Yey Baby! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262373)

Do you live in middle America?

Re:Yey Baby! (4, Funny)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262532)

My programming teacher in High School was also a Chip-n-Dale

Your teacher was a chipmunk? I think you meant Chippendale. lol.

Re:Yey Baby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262435)

Just take a carrot out of your fridge and put two rubber bands around it, same effect. /me likes his women pale and curvy.

How sweet would it be... (5, Funny)

DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262239)

How sweet would it be to have cheerleaders for this kind of thing?

Re:How sweet would it be... (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262344)

c'mon... think about that again for a second. Visualize (not fantasize about) the girls who would _volunteer_ for that job.

No MacOS X? (5, Insightful)

laird (2705) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262242)

A programming contest that doesn't include MacOS X? Crazy! All of the best engineers I know have been moving to MacOS X as their native platform ever since MacOS X 10.2. It lets you use all those wonderful open source tools, and still have a nice friendly GUI, and work on a beautiful laptop, all at once. It's a thing of beauty.

And Apple's development tools rock!

Re:No MacOS X? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262284)

You must not know a lot of engineers. I know dozens and not one is moving anywhere near a mac. Of course, most of them are old hands who won't touch anything but a real Unix flavor.

Re:No MacOS X? (3, Interesting)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262408)

Of the professional Mac OS X converts I know, most are software engineers or computer science types. They like the fit and finish of PowerBooks and like the Unix/Unix-like/NeXT roots of Mac OS X.

Most of the electrical and civil engineers I know are sticking to Win NT/2000/XP as their tools (Cadence, Xilinx Foundation, AutoCAD, etc) are not available for Mac OS X. Also most of these type of enigneers were actually happy to leave the Unix world several years ago when they traded in their Sun SPARCstations for WinNT boxes. To them the Windows world is easier and cheaper to deal with.

Re:No MacOS X? (2, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262426)

And all the engineers I know absolutely despise macs, and are happily using linux.

Moral: testimonials mean jack shit.

Re:No MacOS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262291)

Man, I can totally feel your pain.

Visual Basic is not included, even though 90% of college graduates will have to do just that. Beats me who designs those events.

Re:No MacOS X? (-1, Offtopic)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262296)

All very true. I'm massively perturbed. I feel faint.

swoons

But wait, this is offtopic, but I am pissed about that iTunes bug for Macs - the crashing, freezy thing? Damn that sucks! Apple's gotta fix that shit or what'll i do?!

man, rough day for apple!

iTunes Bug? (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262342)

But wait, this is offtopic, but I am pissed about that iTunes bug for Macs - the crashing, freezy thing? Damn that sucks! Apple's gotta fix that shit or what'll i do?!

What/which iTunes bug? I'm using iTunes 4.6 on my PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.3.5) without any problems. I have an older version on my PC, 4.5.1 I think, that seems to work OK.

Or are you talking about the iTunes UK overcharge? (Apparently Apple charges the German and French 0.99 Euro per song, and the British 79 pence [about 1.20 Euro] while Americans only pay 99 cents [0.80 Euro]).

An even bigger mess is the trouble the labels in Japan are giving Apple--they won't let Apple open an iTunes store in Japan unless they disable ALL ability to burn music to CD-R!!

Re:No MacOS X? (1)

John_Steed (127860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262406)

If it is the system gui lock (the mouse still moves, but nothing works) thing your thinking of then remove /.hotfiles.btree every couple of days (or every time you reboot, if you actually turn off your Mac. Its a klugy work around, but better than the lock.

Because default install isn't enough (3, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262300)

My guess is they're not supporting it because the default install of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther doesn't yet include all of the goodies that developers want.

Here's what my buddies and coworkers complain about:
  • X11 is still not installed by default.
  • 10.3 comes with an older version of Xcode (1.0 I think). The newest version (1.5 I think) has to be downloaded from Apple's website, requring a free-but-time-consuming Developer Online Membership.
  • Version number questions. Many OS X users are still hanging on to 10.2.x because it's almost as fast and almost as good looking as 10.3.x. Many are waiting for 10.4 Tiger, and some developers are already using developer seeds of 10.4.

pft... (1)

CoolMoDee (683437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262374)

Maybe XCode 1.5 wasn't included with Panther because Panther was released almost a year prior? XCode 1.5 was just released like last month with Panther October of 2003. X11 is on the 3rd cd and is aboue 4 -5 clicks to install.

much worse my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262378)

It's worse than that!

>> X11 is still not installed by default.
Correct, but at least it's an (optional) part of OSX.

>> 10.3 comes with an older version of Xcode
Only partially correct. Xcode ships with new Macs and comes in 10.3 retail boxes, but it's on it's own installer CD. Xcode IS NOT part of OSX proper. If you're used to Linux distros where you only need one installer to install both the OS and the developer tools, well, you'll be in for an unfortunate surprise with OSX, you need to install Xcode seperately.

Re:Because default install isn't enough (3, Insightful)

iamatlas (597477) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262456)

10.3 comes with an older version of Xcode (1.0 I think). The newest version (1.5 I think) has to be downloaded from Apple's website, requring a free-but-time-consuming Developer Online Membership.

Version number questions. Many OS X users are still hanging on to 10.2.x because it's almost as fast and almost as good looking as 10.3.x. Many are waiting for 10.4 Tiger, and some developers are already using developer seeds of 10.4.

How are these issues different than coding with any flavor of Linux? I know my machines don't (always) have the most current kernel, or the newest ide. Why? Because of the stability of known and proven software. This results in having to download and install things when I want to upgrade or customize one of my systems, exactly like you'd have to do with OS X to get X11 or the newest Xcode. (Or XP, for that matter- what develpoment tools are in XP pro by default? Less than OS X, certainly)

Besides, I think it's safe to say that the machines being used are going to be setup using disk images to ensure uniformity, something that can be done on a PPC just as easily.

My guess is they're not using OS X because of the hardware differnces and the way these differences could skew the results, or give even an appearance of unfairness. Standardize the hardware, let the programmer choose the OS, and they have only themselves to blame if (when) explorer.exe crashes or if (never) the kernel panics.

Re:Because default install isn't enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262479)

and.... where is the IDE on a default windows install? Where is the x11 on a default windows install? How many versions of windows are there in use? They're only allowing XP, and I know a lot of developers still using 2000.

None of your arguments hold. OS X is actually more developer friendly (out of the box)

Re:No MacOS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262302)

Behind every bit of humor lies a tiny bit of truth.

Re:No MacOS X? (0)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262359)

I take it you've never had to actually deal with XCode? Give me Linux and Qt any day. The XCode and Apple's adherence to objective C, etc. cause all kinds of funky issues.
Not to mention actually trying to put together a package on their system... the dylib internal naming and pathing system is a ROYAL pita. As in the acronym, not my nick.

Re:No MacOS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262446)

You think Qt is better than Cocoa and Objective C?

*mouth hangs open*

Uhm, okay, have fun I guess. I like my languages simple and dynamic, and my frameworks elegant .. Qt is typical Linux/open source/geek bloatware. IMHO of course.

Re:No MacOS X? (1, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262450)

I use Xcode on a daily basis. For non-GUI apps, it's a very nice IDE, I enjoy using it. I use C and C++ without any problems.

Designing GUI apps with Xcode is another story. While it's easier than writing oldschool classic mac gui apps, Apple's Cocoa (NeXT) API isn't much fun to work with. As you pointed out, it's certainly no Qt or GTK. I would put it on par with Microsoft garbage for fun/ease-of-use.

Historically speaking, the Cocoa API, Obj-C, and Xcode itself all come from NeXT. These were nice tools back in the NeXT days, but I honestly think Apple made a step backwards as they updated/enhanced them for Mac OS X. They're not _bad_, they're just not all that great.

Welcome to computing in 2004, everything's a tradeoff, moreso than ever before.

Re:No MacOS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262449)

Nice friendly GUI? Let me know when maximising a window works, then and only then will I consider using my Mac for anything other than testing.

I don't think OSX can maximize, by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262500)

Does the OSX GUI even have an option for maximizing a window? AFAIK, each window has three buttons:
(X) "Red" --> Close window
(-) "Yellow" --> Minimize window (collapse window to the dock)
(+) "Green" --> Expand window to encompass as much of the data possible/needed. (Make the window large enough to display all data, but don't make it larger than it needs to be).

This is from memory, but AFAIK, there is no "Maximize Window" option that's specifically designed to expand a window to fill the entire display. Some applications have an option to do so, but it's not part of the OSX window manager.

I think applications like Apple's DVD player program have a menu or keyboard option for full screen. I don't know if it's possible to make the Safari web browser full screen though, but why would you do that on a 20", 23", or 30" monitor anyway?

Why RH9 ? (4, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262244)

Why did they choose RH9, instead of FC1 or FC2 (or the myriad other _stable_ distributions that are floating around)?

With a newer distro, the contestants would get newer versions of the tools (like Eclipse, Emacs, etc.).

I'm not criticizing; I'm just wondering.

-- I like my women like I like my beer: smooth, and not too gassy.

Re:Why RH9 ? (3, Informative)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262295)

I think It would give an even footing when you take into consideration that if you have to install the system as part of the competition it would take the same amount of time to get RH9 and XP up to date..

Re:Why RH9 ? (1)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262298)

Why did they choose RH9, instead of FC1 or FC2 (or the myriad other _stable_ distributions that are floating around)?

I thought Fedora was supposed to the the unstable, bleeding edge, experimental RedHat. How does that make it more "stable"?

Note that I'm not necessarily against Fedora, I'm just wondering why it's more stable than RH9.

Re:Why RH9 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262319)

Fedora is like any other distribution. It has a development release but FC1 and FC2 are both very reliable. They may be more bleeding edge and less stable then a conservative distro like Slackware but they aren't building these machines with month long uptimes in mind.

Fedora is to Redhat as Mozilla used to be to Netscape.

Re:Why RH9 ? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262494)

I don't know that its *more* stable, but I've been running Core 1 for some time and have had very few problems. At least with Core 1 you'd have a newer kernel. Of course you'd still have to update all your libraries for the applicable language.

Code fast or Fast Code? (3, Insightful)

rexguo (555504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262246)

Personally, I think fast code is more important than coding fast. But that's because I work in the real-time media industry..

Re:Code fast or Fast Code? (5, Funny)

BizidyDizidy (689383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262357)

Personally, I think embarassing posts are more pathetic than posting emabarassingly. But that's because I don't write posts that convey no meaningful information in a transparent attempt at gaining karma.

Re:Code fast or Fast Code? (2, Interesting)

Khomar (529552) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262361)

From the article...

Competitors submit their solutions to the competition server and are scored on the elegance of their solution and the quality of their source code.

It would appear that quality of code and solution are critical factors in determining the winner. I actually didn't see any reference to the time taken in the article, though I would assume there is some kind of upper limit. The actual performance characteristics of the code would probably fall under the "elegence of their solution".

Re:Code fast or Fast Code? (1)

Acidictadpole (813697) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262487)

They could possibly have stages in which they judge time. Someone's code who is 1 line longer but is handed in 30 minutes later might be cut down in score for that. But on the other hand, someone's code who is 150 lines longer and handed in 20 minutes later might not get any penalty. Then effieciency of the code will be looked at and then judge whether the team has performed efficiently in their "number of lines : purpose of program" Ratio. I know that being able to code fast is important, but having efficient code is important as well. For system resources and for upgrading POV's. Having 2 coders that work on the same project both finishing in the same time. But with hefty different amounts of lines will bring in the same amount of money for the company. But upgrading will be easier for the person with less code.

Re:Code fast or Fast Code? (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262506)

I had similar thoughts. Also, I'd like to add to the contest how well the software was designed? Or how well it it can be maintained?

If we get into subjective things like that, then this contest will become like rythmic gymnstics - an art not a sport.

Re:Code fast or Fast Code? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262507)

Competitions don't usually have a 12-18 month window for delivery, it sort of has to be done now to get judged.

What could be better? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262251)

What could be better than winning a gold in the Geek Olympics?

A> Not being a fucking geek I'd warrant.

Re:What could be better? (4, Funny)

Draconix (653959) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262301)

What could be better than winning a gold in the Geek Olympics?

Having a girlfriend.

Re:What could be better? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262316)

Reminds of something I heard:

"Even if you win the Gold at the Special Olympics...you're still retarded."

I thought it went this way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262337)


Arguing on Slashdot is like competing in the Special Olympics; even if you win you're still a retard.

Re:I thought it went this way: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262363)

Posting on Slashdot is like competing in the Special Olympics; even if you're modded-up you're still a retard.

ITS A JOKE.

mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262381)

heheh, just kidding.

Re:What could be better? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262336)

But... you're posting on slashdot... my brain is going to implode from the paradox...

if you win... (2, Funny)

smartsaga (804661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262264)

Can you do my homework in c++ data structures????

Re:if you win... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262430)

Can you do my homework in c++

I doubt the winner could do that. Whomever wins will probably know visual basic (if mswindows) or python (if redhat).

Especially if it's a microsoft dude who uses that fake-hungarian-msft notation. Do you really want C++ homework turned in that starts
"void main(int iArgc, char *caArgv[])"

You want a contest that allows Apple/Amiga/BSD/Gentoo/[your favorite OS here] if you want someone who can pass the datastructures class.

Automated Scoring (3, Insightful)

bluelip (123578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262280)

TFA states the programs will be automatically scored on characteristics including 'elegance'. How can one program judge the elegance of another?

Re:Automated Scoring (3, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262462)

It might be related to how programs determine the complexity of code, elegance may be strongly correlated with simplicity. One definition of complexity is to count the number of operands and operators used to perform some task.

Coffee is not allowed! (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262281)

Urine checks after every line of code.

Re:Coffee is not allowed! (1)

Acidictadpole (813697) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262495)

LOL Nice :P Make any drinks except coder's water and fruit juice (which is tested AFTER its poured into the cup). Stress balls and Iron ball direction are limited to one per team.

Hold up... (4, Funny)

blueforce (192332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262285)

This sounds too much like something contrived by corporate America.

No, thanks. I'll take the quality olympics.

It's like... "Who can build the next skyscraper the fastest? Now, who wants to occupy it?"

Re:Hold up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262308)

I don't see anything that indicates any real corporate influence here and speed and quality don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Re:Hold up... (1, Insightful)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262384)

No, thanks. I'll take the quality olympics.

And which one would that be? The one with all the doping scandals and judging fiascos? The one that gave the corporations huge concessions such as making blogging illegal [cnn.com] for athletes?

The Olympics are full of crap.

...except for beach volleyball - that was cool.

Re:Hold up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262413)

In your eagerness to rant about the Olympic Games, you completely missed the point. The OP was speaking of a hypothetical Geek Olympics in which the solutions are rated by their quality, not the speed with which they are produced.

Re:Hold up... (1)

Khomar (529552) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262433)

From the article...

The IOI is one of five brains-over-brawn Olympiads; other games test kids' skills in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.

This new breed of olympic games are not just about computers, but they cover many different intellectual fields. While there may be some corporate sponsorship, the goal here seems to be rather benign. It is simply an attempt to create an international competition that tests the intellect rather than the physical shape of the body. Does this make it any less competitive or worthwhile? To define quality purely in the physical realm is very narrowminded ... though the standard olympic games would be a far sight more fun to watch!

Re:Hold up... (1)

Khomar (529552) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262453)

Oops... I see now that I missed your point entirely. However, once again, I have to disagree. See my other post [slashdot.org] regarding the quality vs speed. I don't believe that speed is the central issue here.

Remember the Last Marathon? (5, Funny)

Hypharse (633766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262299)

I remember the last time....a brazilian was in the lead with only a couple functions left. Then out of nowhere a drunk irishman with the words

"I use FreeBSD you insensitive clods!"

written on his back ran onto the floor and shoved the leader's chair into the crowd. Scooting the chair back into place cost the leader precious seconds and momentum which dropped him eventually to third place.

Can You Say Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (-1, Offtopic)

ThomasFlip (669988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262307)

Seriously though, some programmers need to get a life.

Re:Can You Say Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (1)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262330)

I programmed a life last year, be I'm converting it to Java so I'm without one for a while..... Every life needs coffee!!!!!

well.. (4, Informative)

toomin (793701) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262310)

My friend went to the International Biology Olympiad, which is basically the sister project of this one. She had loads of fun, so I wish all the best to the kids competing in this competition. One point to note, perhaps: The people who are in this coding competition are all kids in school. This is not determining the fastest coder in the world, it's determining the best young coders. Just thought I'd clear that up.. =)

Wait a sec (4, Funny)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262312)

The computers are being supplied by Altec and contestants will have a choice of using either Windows XP or RedHat 9.0

I thought they only used Windows in the International Special Olympiad in Informatics. :)

Live Boardcasting? (2, Insightful)

4cop2c (811629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262320)

What will it like if there is live boardcasting?

Re:Live Boardcasting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262339)

Is boardcasting how they mold surfboards? Or is it how they find actors to portray corporate executives. If it is anything like the real olympics it will be Boredcasting.

Condoms. (5, Funny)

xotx69 (571221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262325)

Somehow, unlike the "Athletic" Olympics, I don't think they're gonna need to hand out condoms.

Just personal lubricants...

In related news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262333)

In related news, the International Olympic Committee has sued the International Olympiad in Informatics for their illegal use of the organizations trademarks, copyrights, and software patents.

then China? (1)

loid_void (740416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262334)

I suspect this is the pre-training for Beijing, China in 2008; some of the building plans are already online. Here are a few to check out... Water Cube [arup.com] and Main Arena [bjghw.gov.cn].

Anyone got a design for the programer building? Giant Processor, etc...

Network (3, Funny)

mixtape5 (762922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262367)

Which Lucky TV network gets to have continous coverage of these events?

Re:Network (1)

hereschenes (813329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262428)

Who knows... with all the pizzaz [homestarrunner.com] involved in TV presentations these days, it could be very interesting!

Perhaps the next reality show to hit will be programming based: Big Brother - H4X012 Edition (The Daemon Is Watching...)

why rh and winxp (1)

zxflash (773348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262375)

i can see the point of redhat but xp has no programming tools built in (not even a damn c compiler) unless you consider notepad a programming tool... REAL HACKERS CODE IN BINARY

Re:why rh and winxp (1)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262522)

I just had to reply to this given my standard sig :)
(For brevity I won't convert my hex to base2.)

Not Olympics (2, Informative)

sometwo (53041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262401)

Don't call it an Olympics or you'll get sued by the IOC faster than you can say it.

Suggestions for Coding: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262425)

Here's a few suggestions on what to code:

1) Fastest "Hello World"
2) 1337 0w|\|a63 Code (XP vs. RH9)
3) First one to hack HURD out from Emacs
4) First one to find (or paste) SCOde into Linux (anonymously sponsored but the prize check was stamped from Utah)
5) First to hack AI for dancing Osimo-like Ballmer.
6) First to uninstall their OS and install/compile Gentoo
7) Program a game...'cause we could use another one of them fsckin' Space Invaders clones.

Why no G5s? (2, Insightful)

Cow007 (735705) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262439)

Any particular reason that Apple isn't represented? I think that the competition might be a bit more competitive if the G5 was available.

Excellent contest for employers... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262451)

So we can know who NOT to hire. A good, employable coder is someone who works well in a team, writes code that can be easily taken up by another coder if necessary, and does not show up the rest of the team in an effort to be "#1". The people going for these olympics have pretty much the exact opposite of every employable skill I look for.

Who proofreads these things? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262452)

the16th annual IOI (that's International Olympiad in Informatics)

Actually, that's 5.

Solution to SCO problem (1)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262466)

Anyone else notice, that last years contestants already worked out the SCO/IBM case in This [ioinformatics.org] task? They talk about a hypothetical RBN vs. HAL anti-trust case, which looks suspisiously like rot-1 encryption to me. (For those of you who prefer not to think RBN=>SCO & HAL=IBM)

fastest coder??? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10262475)

More like fast thinking, puzzle solving skills, knowledge of algorightms, data structures and math (especially combinatorics), concentration under stress, debugging, and even some luck.

I suck at coding fast, type with few fingers, and pause all the time to mentally execute the code. Got gold in 1991 :) From what I've seen, format of the competition and problem scope hasn't changed that much since then.

I wonder how good OCaml is going to score (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262493)

Computer languages can be made to resemble human language (English) as much as possible. They can be made to reflect the machine as much as possible (assembler) and they can be made to resemble a drunken sailor with Tourette's syndrome (Pearl).

However, I wonder how functional languages will do. They try to approximate math as much as possible. OCaml [ocaml.org] Won top 3 spots from '98 till '02 in a contest called ICFP. Although OCaml is both functional and has object-oriented features.

Are functional languages the way of the future? Better brush up on my math. Another functional language feature I heard of was that they can be made multi-threaded automatically, with the runtime environment spreading the execution of the program across multiple threads/processors.

Maybe someone should tell Sony about functional languages as a way for game programmers to handle their Cell PS3 processors. They go the - slower individual chips but more of them working at the same time - route.

I was in the final for the UK version of this. . . (5, Interesting)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262505)

Back in the day (2000), I actually got into the final of the British Informatics Olympiad [cam.ac.uk]. I'm not sure what the format is elsewhere, but basically they sent out a self-administering test to schools (all the schools in the UK, I think) and had them run it locally, seeing how much of a few interesting puzzles you could write in three hours or so - you can find out more on the site. All programming, no justification, you were scored on results (in that round), which I thought was the way it should be - after all, results are what matters in real life!

All the cool people were using C or Pascal. I used QuickBASIC! And yet I got the right results for enough of the questions (the C guy got his output board the wrong way up), and so I was invited to Cambridge. The best part about the first round was that I hadn't even done the last round right - I just said "yes, that's right" to the sample case and "No, impossible" to everything else. ;-)

Anyhoo, I got to Cambridge (for you USAians, one of our old "Ivy League" colleges) where I learnt to my relief that they had installed QuickBASIC especially for the two of us who had actually got in with it (15 finalists total) - they were shocked at having to, I can tell you! Of course, I was pretty sure at that stage that I wasn't actually going to win, and so I had a great time and zero stress. The tests itself were a) more of the same, but b) there was also an easay paper. Having not read much about the subject formally, I imagine I did dismally on the latter - I think I got about one and a half on the programming at best. Didn't know how to do efficient sorting! Still, it was great fun, and really set my mind on becoming a programmer.

The best part was, we got room, board and tours around Cambridge absolutely free (I guess they were looking to recruit a few of us to Cambridge). I even saw Stephen Hawking whizzing around on his motorised wheelchair! We got given two books at the end of it - Programming Pearls [amazon.com] and Introduction to Computer Algorithms [amazon.com]. Both darn good books, although I admit to reading the first more closely than the second. ;-)

Don't forget ICFP (3, Informative)

Captain Tripps (13561) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262517)

Those too old for this competition or the ACM version [baylor.edu] should check out the ICFP programming contest [slashdot.org]. You can work from home, using any language you want, and you have three days to complete the task the give you (24 hours for the lightning division). Typically people work in small teams and use exotic stuff like Dylan [gwydiondylan.org], although last year's winning entry was in C++. If you win, you get a cash prize and the judges pronounce your implementation language "the programming tool of choice for discriminating hackers."

Re:Don't forget ICFP (2)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10262528)

Whereas, of course, contestants for the IOCC [ioccc.org] attracts people attempting to construct the programs of choice for indiscriminate hackers. :-)
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