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LiveCoda, Real-Time Coding Competition

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the mad-max-with-keyboards dept.

95

Robert Shelton points out this "debrief" from ESCI LiveCoda 2006, a live programming competition. From the article: "On Wednesday the 24th of May at Loop Bar in Melbourne (Australia) fourteen teams of programmers gathered for the first ESCI LiveCoda real-time programming competition. Possibly the first performance based real-time programming competition. Before a packed night club with live music, each team had just ten minutes to write a program which could correct a corrupted image." (Here's a mirror of the LiveCoda site).

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I'm sure that this will make the IT trade cooler (5, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540791)

Next, can we have Sergei Brinn found passed out in the bathroom stall with six hookers?

"How long, O Lord?" (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540804)

Why this fascination with speed?

When are people going to start programming contests where the award is given for something that's actually useful, such as fewest bugs, most readable, best re-use of existing code, etc?

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540872)

Competitions already are judged on 'fewest bugs'. Indeed, some competitions disqualify any entry that has any bugs found in testing. But all the other criteria you suggest are subjective. I think speed is a pretty good judge of programmer ability; someone who can hack up a correct program in 10 minutes stands a good chance of writing a correct, clear and maintainable program in an hour.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

adamlazz (975798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540936)

Wow... I agree... But in ten minutes, is it even possible to gether your ideas? Because it seems that all there is time to do is to hit the ground running with this competition!

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540956)

Because it seems that all there is time to do is to hit the ground running with this competition!
That's the point.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

adamlazz (975798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541122)

But how can you produce a GOOD product with only 10 minutes? I honestly don't think there is even a way to judge a program that was rushed and put together in 10 minutes!!!

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (2, Interesting)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541198)

Set a simple task and see if the code performed that simple task.
Kind of like what they did here.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

adamlazz (975798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541250)

I agree, but; Why not have a competition that prodouces something useful? Simple programs are fun and all, but they are mostly useless and nothing we need to use. If they could make a competition where people try and make the best program, no matter what the topic, then THAT would be a nail-biter!

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541367)

If they could make a competition where people try and make the best program, no matter what the topic, then THAT would be a nail-biter!
That competition is called life.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542090)

Why not have a competition that prodouces something useful?

You mean like baseball?

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

abstract1 (982691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541053)

I would definiately have to agree with you on this one. Speed may not be the ONLY representation of coding abilities, but it is a good benchmark. A combination of several factors obviously should be considered when programming in an enterprise environment, but for competition-sake, what is wrong with judging based on speed?

Know what it's called? (2, Funny)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541257)

Competitions already are judged on 'fewest bugs'.
That competition is called the free market, with the obvious exception of Windows, of course.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (3, Interesting)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541470)

"someone who can hack up a correct program in 10 minutes stands a good chance of writing a correct, clear and maintainable program in an hour."

Patently false, for a number of human reasons:

1) Programmers are are fast are generally easilly bored. This leads to wandering focus.
2) Programmers who are fast often approach problems in a strange way. This can lead to convoluted and confusing implementations.
3) Programmers who are fast rarely see value in commenting. Why comment when I can rewrite faster than I can reuse?
4) Programmers who are fast are usually impatient, and don't work well with teams. I *like* this competition because it has some focus on teamwork, but I'm generalizing.

For such simple problems as are being solved in this competition most of these problems aren't problems. But all of these things will eventually lead to unstable, unmaintainable codebases. I'd prefer to have someone who is good at code re-use, who is good at seeing the complex parts of problems and who is good at getting the right architecture the first time. None of these things are tested in this competition.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541620)

Those are staggering generalizations. Your conclusions are nonsense. Programmers who are fast are generally, well, fast. To deduce that every single programmer who has the ability to pick up and solve a problem quickly becomes bored easily is ludicrous. I realize this may be painful to accept, but the fact that the world supports thousands of programmers more quick-witted and capable than you are does not mean that they are all short of attention and inferior in some way. Some programmers who solve a problem quickly will approach it with a unique solution in mind. Most simply solve the problem at hand. Additionally, strange doesn't always equate with bad. Haven't you ever heard the old adage "think outside the box"?

Again, not all programmers who are fast devalue commenting. Rather than mucking around adding their name and birthday to every source file and commenting "increment variable i by one", they're commenting complex trickery and the points that might actually confuse even a seasoned programmer. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the latter.

Finally, that fourth generalization has no basis in reality. Just because someone can work fast doesn't mean they can't work with others. Just because someone can do drywall work in a house very quickly on average doesn't mean they can't work with dozens of other contracted workers on the job working at different paces towards the same finished product. It all depends on the person, not the speed of their programming.

These are problems. They aren't competing to create a stable architecture with which to build enterprise software upon. They're solving problems. Just because a programmer is competing in this speed contest does not "patently" make them a poor programmer in the big picture, nor does it make them incapable of teamwork, nor does it make them "strange". It sounds like you have some security issues about your own ability and are just taking it out on people who are talented enough to be competing in such a great and challenging speed contest.

Your troll is elaborate, though it "patently" is one.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541621)

I agree completely. Giving someone a simple problem to solve and saying "solve it as fast as you can" isn't a good measure of ability at all. It promotes too many bad habits into what might be considered good programming.

The parent poster's name is SpeedBump, and that's exactly what a real programming competition should have: speed bumps, hurdles, obstacles. Here's how I envision it: give the teams a medium difficulty problem to solve. The judges act as clients. The teams have a given period of time in which to solve the problem (probably longer than 10 minutes), but it's okay if they go over, it'll just cost them points. During the competition, the judges introduce small changes to the problem (i.e. requirements changes). It's okay for the teams to get up and talk to the judges, that just costs time. They might even convince the judges that certain requirements aren't feasible in the given timespan, and get them dropped. In the end documentation, usability, scalability, and maintainability count just as much as realization of the goal.

If there are competitions like this, then huzzah for them. Really, speed programming proves nothing.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (2, Interesting)

Poltras (680608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543035)

Sorry, but as a guy who did a couple of programming contests (both ACM and some homebrewed), and can largely be considered as someone who _can_ code faster than average, I must say you're wrong. It is not the case of most of the people who participate in these contests because we often need a better preparation and better structure so that we can code faster, we are normally more intellect and can see the need to reuse (instead of most people on just are not smart enough to design good in the first place, and they are numerous).

And believe me, my friend, we are patient. It takes a lot of patience first to just practice on those contests. And it's not because you can code faster on certain occasion (this bug needs to be fixed before tomorrow morning) that you MUST do it everytime (ok I'll hack it up and comment it all tomorrow during the day).

This is what people actually believe? (3, Interesting)

imaginaryelf (862886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541652)

Sorry. I can't agree.

Having spent 20 years in the programming profession, I've worked with a lot of programmers. The speedy ones are usually exceptionally smart, but their code is completely unmaintainable, no matter how much time they are given to write it. If you work any time in industry, you'll know that 90% of your life is maintaining or improving upon code that others have written, so the speedy ones actually hurt overall programmer productivity for the team.

I'll take a slow and methodical programmer over a Speedy Gonzales anyday.

Re:This is what people actually believe? (3, Insightful)

joebob2000 (840395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542055)

The counter-generalization: The speedy ones are usually exceptionally smart, but their code is completely unmaintainable, no matter how much time they are given to write it, because the other 9/10ths don't understand the code enough to maintain it. Of course this is the fault of the 1 smart programmer. Why? because they are outnumbered 9 to 1. The exception? when the smart programmer becomes VP of engineering.


I know plenty of smart, fast programmers that write clear code and follow the rules. Sometimes the best ones will write something that most others have a hard time following, not because it is "sloppy", but because they are more talented. They also find and fix plenty of bugs that the other 9/10s made in their "maintainable" code. I have seen times where a super programmer correctly debugs a regular programmer's code in a design review sight unseen, just from the description. I have also seen regular programmers say "I checked it", or argue with a super programmer, until he gives up in and takes 10 minutes to find the bug and fix it himself.


What's my point? I don't have one, except maybe don't be a hater just because you can't hit the ball like Tiger Woods.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15542158)

> I think speed is a pretty good judge of programmer ability
You're ready for management, boy!

Meh - TopCoder has had these for a while. (2, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540942)

Their design and development (and to some extent their marathon and multi-threading) competitions all allow much less restrictive timelines, and use very "real-world" problems (in fact, they sell the results of the design/development work). There's substantial prize support, and potential for royalties on the software you develop. They're evaluated by real people who look for bugs, run tests, and reward efficient, readable code.

But most people prefer competing in the algorithm competition (which are an hour and a half). I know I do - I'd much rather be done with the competition in a couple hours than spend a whole week stewing on it. I also do regular component development programming for a living - I don't feel the urge to go do more of that after work for less pay.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541004)

Bug-free programs are a nice idea unless you're trying to make money from them.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541069)

"Why this fascination with speed?"

Most jobs depend more on one's ability to meet deadlines.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541183)

You mean, like the ICFP Programming competitions [plt-scheme.org] ?
They often exercise a number of different ideals. The most recent one featured code reuse/flexible design as one of the primary goals.

Of course you're almost always going to have some element of coding speed featured in these contests as, well, they don't want to wait a year for the submissions to start rolling in.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

Tired_Blood (582679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541294)

When are people going to start programming contests where the award is given for something that's actually useful, such as fewest bugs, most readable, best re-use of existing code, etc?

There's no point to it, the best has already been done [ioccc.org] - I can't find any bugs or anything confusing in the source (somewhat ironic considering that the 'O' in "IOCCC" stands for "Obfuscated").

Well, maybe not re-use of existing code but one could very easily apply the source to any application with minimal impact to a program's speed or even its size - that level of adaptability is extremely rare. :)

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

tjkerr (982754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541295)

It wasn't so much a fascination with speed as an attempt to (to quote from the debrief) produce an instance of "collaborative performance art". While I didn't make it along on the night, from all accounts it was quite impressive to hear the cheers go up when a team managed to solve the problem within the time limit. The nature of the problem, and Rob's setup, which I believe provided an update of the most recent compile's image output every 10-15 seconds, turned programming into a spectator sport. And no, most of the audience were not geeks.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541525)

so is this really what we need? for people to believe that they should focus on slow, perfection?

heh, i focused on quality and speed, but sucked at both :) guess that's why i'm living in my parents house instead of some nice big house somewhere.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

dugjohnson (920519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542490)

Such a contest exists....it's called your job.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

finnw (415539) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543161)

"Best reuse of existing code" has been done in at least one programming contest:
http://icfpc.plt-scheme.org/ [plt-scheme.org]
According to some of the postings on the mailing list it didn't work too well though.

Re:"How long, O Lord?" (1)

ticti (982898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15546369)

The fascination with speed for me is how much "work" can be produced in a collaborative real-time environment. In particular for computer performance with languages such as SuperCollider [audiosynth.com] or Chuck [princeton.edu] . Also, it is fun to watch programmers battle with logic under pressure. :) Cheers, Rob.

Ten minutes to fix an image? (1)

reklusband (862215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540806)

But the article has poor documentation and no side by side examples. This makes no sense. It sounds like a cool idea, but the article doesn't give details that would be useful to us. God bless modern blog style journalism!

Re:Ten minutes to fix an image? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540975)

Did you click on the "images" link? There's a side-by-side example on the page.

I agree about the lack of details in news articles of all types, but trying to blame "modern blog style journalism" is misguided here. If you've ever read a mainstream news article about which you had first-hand or expert knowledge, you must have noticed they got all the details wrong and reached unrelated conclusions. At least blogs like this one are closer to the original source.

I attack the darkness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540807)

I attack the darkness.

Re:I attack the darkness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541180)

Are there any chicks at the bar? Am I getting drunk?

And where do you keep the mountain dew?

Re:I attack the darkness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544764)

I attack the darkness.

LLLLOOOOOLLLLLL! you attack the darkness. OMGWTFCONMEBOL!!!!!!

If this is anything... (1)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540809)

... like real-time cartoon animation, it's going to be a sight to behold. Killer on the animators though - I hope the programmers fare better - best of luck!

Code Jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540832)

Any word as to how this compared to Google's Code Jam [google.com] ? From all appearances, there is more to won from Google's competition (assuming it happens again this year). Besides, the possibility of visiting Google HQ is worth more than "600 dollars worth of prizes".

The first? (5, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540836)

Possibly the first performance based real-time programming competition.
In my day we called those "job interviews", and first prize was paid out in weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly installments.

bi-weekly (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541679)

you know, since that period of time is used so often, they've actually come up with a specific word for it: fortnight.

i.e. 1 fortnight = 2 weeks, so bi-weekly = fortnightly

Re:The first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543254)

I think that's more of an acting competition :)

Geeks? (5, Funny)

Ramble (940291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540845)

In other news geeks have been spotted in a bar near Melbourne, it's rumored to be the first documented case of geeks in an alcoholic establishment and will provide scientists with invaluable data on the migration habits of Australian Spotted Geek (Geekus Oceanus).

Re:Geeks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541228)

as well as the mating practices, and the subsequent migration patterns, of the Australian Hot Chick (Babeus Dontlikegeekus) when confronted by the Australian Spotted Geek. I hear Steve Irwin is already en route to film the action as it takes place!

Re:Geeks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15546562)

You're joking, right?

Half the comp sci students at my university were alcoholics, regularily found in the town's many bars! Most LUGs I've heard of meet in pubs, and yes, both drinking and coding goes on in them.

Note to self (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540847)

Never go to this nightclub.

From the FAQ (5, Funny)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540876)


9) Will I have access to a Dvorak keymap?

Yes.

10) Were you really asked about Dvorak keymaps?

Yes.


--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bw, PHP, mysql, ssh, $7.95

Re:From the FAQ (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542273)

I'd say it's a valid question. Although I'm fluent in both QWERTY and Dvorak and have about 90% of my Dvorak speed in QWERTY for most applications, if you sit me down at VIM with a QWERTY keyboard and tell me to whip up some C++ code, I'm like a retarded monkey. I start out by typing "Z,", and within 5 minutes I'm so confused I start punching myself, crying "WHY DOES MY FACE HURT I DON'T UNDERSTAND NOTHING MAKES SENSE"

Oh the possibilities (4, Funny)

kay41 (894758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540878)

I shutter to think of the pickup lines that were spoken throughout the evening. After all, us programmers are foreign to this "club" environment. What is this "music" you speak of anyway?

Re:Oh the possibilities (3, Funny)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541007)

"Me so Hooorney. Me drool you long time. Computer Fixey Fixey five minutes."

Re:Oh the possibilities (1)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542113)

I take offense (sarcastic offense, but offense none-the-less) to that comment.

I have been a programmer for over a decade, a proud geek for 15 years.

With that being said, I have also been a resident DJ here in Columbus, GA for nearly 8 years. There are a LOT of geeks that love the club scene and dance music. Programming to me is a lot like running a live mix-set....take components of varying complexity & origin, then blend them together to create a good program (set). In programming, the desired outcome is a working, clean, glorious program. From my DJ Booth, the desired outcome is for the crowd to blow up and tear the place down from exhileration and excitment that MY PROGRAM generated. The end results are similar, the processes are nearly identical, and only the tools/components are different.

Also, in my most humble opinion, it is immoral to write software unless you have some Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, or at least some Ministry of Sound in the CD/MP3 player, anything else would just be WEIRD.

Peace,
Brad

Re:Oh the possibilities (1)

DaChesserCat (594136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543845)

Also, in my most humble opinion, it is immoral to write software unless you have some Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, or at least some Ministry of Sound in the CD/MP3 player, anything else would just be WEIRD.


Not familiar with those. I usually work best with Eric Johnson and Blues Saraceno. Few, if any, vocals to distract the mind, variation in tempos (kicking adrenaline all the time doesn't work, long-term), fairly complex and somewhat repetitive.

Tried a variety of other stuff. This just happens to be what works for me.

Re:Oh the possibilities (1)

BitchKapoor (732880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15556754)

Columbus, GA? I'm sorry. P.S. Do you work at Ft. Benning?

You have GOT to be kidding (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540925)

Oh my God - this is SO uncool.

A geek flexing his mental muscles is still a geek; girls will still put him in the friend zone.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540940)

your point?

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540964)

You don't win friends with salad.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541006)

If social access to any person requires you to be something other than a geek, than they obviously are not worth it.
They can stay where they are: making french fries.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (1)

everett (154868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541212)

Conversely being friends with someone who limits themself to being a "geek" is not worth befriending. Most people don't like 1-dimensional personalities, let alone stereotyped 1-dimensional personalities.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541043)

Sawkie, is that you?

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (1)

foamrotreturns (977576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541566)

A geek flexing his mental muscles is still a geek; girls will still put him in the friend zone.
Geeks don't have to be socially/relationally undesirable. The problem that many geeks have is they don't get out enough to gain the social intelligence necessary to avoid the occasional faux pas that labels them as "odd" for the remainder of the conversation. I have a few theories on why geeks have a hard time in social situations:
1) Geeks spend a lot of time interacting with people online, which is different from face to face communication in two very real ways. First, there are no facial expressions or body language online, and most people have learned to compensate for that with more descriptive "speech" that outlines both the concept and the speaker's feelings on the matter. Emoticons are pretty useful, actually. The effect of this is that geeks are often accustomed to being aware of the other party's feelings without having to read facial expressions or body language, so when they end up in a real conversation, they completely discard the visual inputs from the other party, and thus miss out on some very important cues as to what they are feeling. I've been insulted, harassed, annoyed, and generally made uncomfortable by many a geek. They weren't trying to be annoying; they just didn't know how to read my reactions to their behavior. Second, E-Mail and IM are very different from regular speech in that there is a *backspace button*. When you're talking to someone in person and you say something stupid or insulting, you're SOL. But online, you have that trusty backspace key. People who are used to having the ability to review their communication before transmission sometimes have trouble communicating face to face because we often form sentences as we're speaking them. Communicating on the fly is much more difficult than "buffered" communication like E-Mail and IM. Geeks are disadvantaged in face to face communication because they don't get enough practice at this more difficult form of communication.
2) It seems to me that a lot of geeks are quite concerned with what other people think about them. I am a firm believer that most of the malware out there was written by geeks who were trying to prove themselves in attempt to gain acceptance. However, this desire to be accepted often leads to *trying* to be accepted, which is ok in the geek world where you have to pass some kind of test, but in the real world, if people see you trying too hard, it kind of gives you a "pathetic" reputation. Instead of trying to fit in, geeks can learn a lot about what is acceptable and what is not by just shutting up and listening to other people talk. People love to talk, so if a geek can use his few words to encourage others to talk about themselves, he/she will accomplish two feats: a) making the other person feel good because someone is interested in them, and b) collecting data on social speaking and mannerism norms.
I won't claim to be 100% socialite and 100% geek - it's more like a balanced mix of the two that allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (1)

bsartist (550317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541995)

Geeks spend a lot of time interacting with people online, which is different from face to face communication in two very real ways. First, there are no facial expressions or body language online, and most people have learned to compensate for that with more descriptive "speech" that outlines both the concept and the speaker's feelings on the matter. Emoticons are pretty useful, actually. The effect of this is that geeks are often accustomed to being aware of the other party's feelings without having to read facial expressions or body language, so when they end up in a real conversation, they completely discard the visual inputs from the other party, and thus miss out on some very important cues as to what they are feeling.
Quite right, but the cause and effect can be the other way around too. Some folks (like me) just aren't very good at sending or receiving non-verbal cues. Cthulhu knows how many times I've been asked "what's wrong" when in fact I was in a perfectly good mood, or completely failed to pick up on someone else's mood. So I tend to gravitate to forms of communication where such cues are irrelevant, like phone and email.

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15542196)

Uh oh, just friends... the kiss of death! Make sure you get on the right relationship ladder!

http://www.intellectualwhores.com/masterladder.htm l [intellectualwhores.com]

Re:You have GOT to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15545344)

Maybe this guy does manage to somehow get laid, but I can't help but think he's Average Chump McFisty with the personality of a brick, especially when the page suggests that "attraction" is less of a factor than "money" is.

10 minute lucky programming lottery (0, Redundant)

KayEss (976633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15540982)

Ten minutes? That sounds like luck more than programming. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer to think about a problem before jumping in with some half-baked idea of what software to write. Of course if you do go for the half baked idea then with a room full of people trying their own versions I suppose at least a few of them are bound to work.

Re:10 minute lucky programming lottery (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541119)

I have extensive experience writing image processing code, and from their description of the problem I think I would be able to bust out the basic structure (reading, processing, writing) in under three minutes. That would leave me seven minutes to figure out how to correct the "corruptions" in the image, which, if they are not pixel interdependent (which would involve some kind of filtering), I could easily do in the allotted time.

More importantly, because I have experience, I would probably not write any bugs, at least in the basic image processing structure of the code. Not because I'm a genius, but because I write image processing code for a living and I can "flow" it out of my fingers without really having to think too much. I can easily imagine people who could do it even faster -- I'm no superhuman.

Re:10 minute lucky programming lottery (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544612)

What, you want a cookie?

Re:10 minute lucky programming lottery (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544970)

The guy claimed it probably wasn't possible to write ROBUST code for this task in 10 minutes. I countered his point by example. So the example happens to be me. Big fuckin' deal. Keep your cookie to yourself.

Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15540991)

Let's just hope that the machines have enough ram to run emacs.

Personally (4, Funny)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541077)

Personally I can think of better things to do in a nightclub, with live music.
And, if I'm in a nightclub chances are I'm in no fit state to do any coding. Actually, I've had an idea - a coding competition where you have to drink eight beers first!

Re:Personally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541306)

so that's what's taking vista so long to come out

Re:Personally (3, Funny)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541441)

Actually, I've had an idea - a coding competition where you have to drink eight beers first!
Erm... I wouldn't even start coding without eight beers first..

Re:Personally (1)

KingPrad (518495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15546655)

Holy crap! I'm in QA, and this makes so many hassles in my life clear! Now I know why the work for QA never ends. :-)

Re:Personally (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15595854)

Holy crap! I'm in QA, and this makes so many hassles in my life clear! Now I know why the work for QA never ends. :-)


Advice: QA has to be drunk too!

Re:Personally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541881)

Actually, I've had an idea - a coding competition where you have to drink eight beers first!

They have that. I think it's called "Windows Vista".

Re:Personally (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542544)

Every time you compile, you must drink a shot of beer for every compile-time error or warning that occurs. I see people getting progressively slower (and much more drunk) as the night goes on.

Re:Personally (1)

napir (20855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544341)

Dude, as long as I can write in a functional language, I'm all for the drunken coding contest.

The first? My ass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541133)

Possibly the first performance based real-time programming competition.

When I was in high school, in the mid-eighties, there were timed programming competitions organized by a local university. There were very common, my older brother remembers them as well. If you were really good, you could go to regional competitions as well.

Did the choice of language affect the results? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15541142)

Conventional wisdom has it that one can write code faster in a language like Python than in C for instance. The results of this competition don't seem to support that contention. Of course, it could have been that the weaker programmers would naturally choose Python ...

btw. I mostly use Python for my desktop apps and C or assembler for embedded work.

Re:Did the choice of language affect the results? (3, Insightful)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541423)

But for something like this, you're mainly limited by the contestants' familiarity with the problem domain.
With this particular competition (which looks to consist of reading in a simple image format, like PPM then applying a couple of simple transformations then writing the new file back out), the code isn't going to be too terribly different between most languages, and therefore the higher expressiveness of something like Python or OCaml wouldn't really get a chance to shine.

Re:Did the choice of language affect the results? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543204)

I was going to say something similar. When banging on pixels, you're not really using any advanced language features, whether your language of choice or C or Python. You pay a huge cost in interpreter overhead, however. I'd never write low level image processing code in Python, even though it's the first thing I turn to for zillions of other tasks...

Not the first (2, Informative)

Sarlok (144969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541405)

Anyone else ever heard of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest? A live programming contest based on # of problems correctly solved in the least amount of time. Lots of fun.

Re:Not the first (1)

AndreiK (908718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541690)

This is the first with such a small span, and probably the first that will get geeks to enter a club.
ACM, ACSL, and others are aplenty, but they all take hours to complete.

Re:Not the first (1)

napir (20855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544355)

And they don't involve beer.

Ha.... (2, Funny)

xCROSSFIREx (976937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541407)

wow...is there really nothing else for them to do in their free time?

"hey bill, what are you doing friday night"
"i'm gonna go out clubbin'....what about you?"
"Ermm....uhmm...i'm gonna go see how fast i can write a program....but it's at a club...."
"Dear lord...you're even more of a geek than i thought you were..."

definitely not first (1)

XO (250276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541801)

"Possibly the first performance based real-time programming competition"..

My best friend back in high school's school was involved in a multi-school real-time programming competition.

12-16 years ago.

Re:definitely not first (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541999)

I remember doing this back in high school on Atari 400's. Let's just say programing for speed on a membrane keyboard was the biggest challenge of the competition.

I guess they mean "Possibly" in the sense that they're just being pretentious.

Re:definitely not first (1)

ticti (982898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15546680)

I'd be interested in links for this (from a history point of view). History in terms of live coding [wikipedia.org] such as [wikipedia.org] .

cheers, rob.

I was there, more info (3, Informative)

enos (627034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15541970)

I went to this thing for a little bit, and while nifty, I don't see why thousands of geeks need to know about it...

Anyhow, it went down like this: four machines with an editor common to all of them, with teams of 2-4 people. They were given a 200x200 image file consisting of simple rgb triples. (200 100 50\n100 133 212 etc, real simple). There was a transform done to it that they had to reverse. The ones I saw were some color rotations/swaps and rotations in increments of 90 degrees. The program had to read in the file, invert the transformation, and output the correct image in the same simple format.

The teams could pick whatever language they wanted. I saw C, C++, Python and Java before I got bored and left. The admins had a system set up that it would compile the code at certain intervals and print out the errors on the screen, or the resulting image if it compiled successfully.

The teams didn't really have trouble writing the code. It was no longer than a screen worth, and they seemed to get that in about 2.5-4 minutes. They spent the rest of the time trying to figure out what the transformation was. They'd try 10-15 different color rotations/swaps combos before the time ran out. They didn't get the correct image in advance, but they were all photos from around the Melbourne area and it was easy to tell what it should be.

If I had heard about it with enough time in advance I would have taken some friends and entered... ah well.

Re:I was there, more info (1)

Frightening (976489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542516)

Forget the coding crap. Who cares? Tell us about the nightclub..

Re:I was there, more info (1)

enos (627034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15545878)

Located in a dark, dark alley (normal for Melbourne..), it has a bar, DJ, and a side room with a big ass projector. Filled with local geeks with the male/female ratio you'd expect from such a group (I didn't help there...)

Re:I was there, more info (2, Informative)

Mr_Escher (209858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15545404)

I was there for the whole night and only one team had managed to finish before you left - in fact only 2 teams finished the problem on the night.

I had a quick go in awk (solo) after the end of the night and in that language, which is DESIGNED for dealing with columns of text, means you can solve any of the problems presented in a couple of minutes.

It's pretty clear you weren't there for long as your summary is not that close to what happened, though your description of the problem is spot on.

Most solutions were a few screens long, only the awk solution I think would have fit on a single screen, only one team would have finished the problem by the time you left, and most images were not of the melbourne area, though some were. Unless you mean the new melbourne stonehenge [esci.org] :-)

You should have stuck around, or asked if you could enter.

Re:I was there, more info (1)

enos (627034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15545851)

I was towards the back and didn't have a clear view of the eMac screens, but I didn't think I saw them scrolling.. Ah well. I got there when the C team (i think) finished in around 6:30 with the pic of what looked like Flinders Street to me. I left 2 or 3 teams later, so yeah, I wasn't there that long (meeting peaple later).. Haha, I guess the images weren't all of Melbourne, but the ones when I was there were..

Live 8bit GameDev Contest in Seattle, WA (1)

x00101010x (631764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15542114)

I've been day dreaming of doing something like this with Mode 0x13 VGA game development for almost a year now. I have a few different ideas for the details, but basically a tournament that run 3 sessions over a weekend (Saturday late-morning through afternoon, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon/evening) ending with live music and awards party Sunday night.

I have a place picked out and could organize it, the entry fee would cover the venue and the pot. The rest I'd cover out of pocket unless co-organizers would like to pitch in.

Anybody interested? [mailto]

Re:Live 8bit GameDev Contest in Seattle, WA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15542452)

> I have a place picked out and could organize it, the entry fee would cover the venue and the pot.

Dude, if you expect us to be awake in the morning on the weekend we're going to need more than pot.

I competed (1)

pjimmy (982782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543350)

I actually attended and competed in this event. I had a blast and thought I'd give you all a bit more of an insight via my experience of the night... I'm a final year computer science student, I organised 2 friends from other uni's and another one of thier fiends (4 total) into a team. None of us had ever entered a programming contest before some of us hadn't even met before the night. In the end despite our nerves we all ended up having a ball with the actual task and enjoyed socialising with the other coders there from all walks of the industry. For those running thier mouths of at this idea, it was on a Wednesday night at a venue almost more bar than club so it was a not only an enjoyable way to spend the night but far from the sad geekfest picture that some of you are painting.The night was about exploring boundaries and addressing the geek isolation discussed in detail in the threads above. I had a great night. Thanks ROB -

Fast programming is unimpressive (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15545419)

except to ADD gamers.

Quality not quantity is what counts.

How about a programming contest where you get 6 months, and the winner is the program
judged most elegant, applicable, comprehensible, extensible, and all the other ibles.
Oh, and has the cleverest recursive acronymic moniker of course.

Re:Fast programming is unimpressive (1)

pjimmy (982782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15546438)

Sounds lime a fun contest. Though obviously with different objectives to LiveCoda. Your suggestion would be a good test of coding ability and promote strong realtionships within the team, whereas LiveCoda was more about trying something new where the focus was not so much on the technical aspects as the social interation between everyone in attendance on the night.

The "first" competition? (1)

wstfgl (912433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15554246)

Possibly the first performance based real-time programming competition.

In what way is this new? There's the ACM ICPC [baylor.edu] for students, TopCoder [topcoder.com] , and the Google Code Jam [google.com] , which have been around for years!

Am I missing something about this competition?

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