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the programming contest ends

This year's programming contest is winding up in the next couple of hours. Whereas last year I tended to feel sleepy early and get up early, this year my problem has been getting up when I plan to.

It's turning out that my best-first-search approach to the plinko puzzle is still grindingly slow in practice. It's frustrating to have put so much effort into a program that so far hasn't yielded any more points for our team. I have to admit that this year's challenges are especially well-suited to functional programming techniques, a feature that past ICFP programming contests haven't necessarily included, leading us to throw Python code around without thinking functionally. On another note, I like how exploratory this year's challenge is; that makes it fun. It's a little like an alternate reality game in that sense.

As there was last year, there will be a time-lapse video of our team at work. When it becomes available—the teammate with the video camera is recovering not only from the programming contest but also from last week's conference and from a head cold—I suspect you'll notice we spend much less time talking with each other than we did last year. The discreteness of this year's puzzles made them easy to parcel out to different team members, but that also made us more isolated from each other in our efforts.