Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Programming Competition News

If you are into programming, and programming competitions, and programming in Lisp, three things that are probably highly correlated with the readership of this blog, then this is probably of interest to you. The Lisp in Summer Projects competition (previously named "Lisp in Small Projects") has been announced and is slated to run from the end of June to the end of September. This probably encompasses ICFP this year, but what is one weekend out of three months?

This looks like a very fun activity and I very much plan to take part if time permits (alas, time is always the enemy). There is something to be said for long term programming competitions. As I have written before, programming in the extreme short term, while fun, tends to breed certain otherwise undesirable development habits. This competition will promote a better development style.

In other awesome (semi) news, HackerRank, a website that is about solving fun programming tasks, has allowed Lisp submissions for a few months now. They allow you to submit programs that will be compiled and executed using a relatively recent version of SBCL (v1.0.55, I think). I have been fairly silent about this in the past as I have been working on something that should make HackerRank a whole lot more fun for us Lispers and a post about why it is necessary in the greater scheme of things, which I will be posting shortly. I just need to test it a bit first. But as it stands, you can use Lisp, and some of there tasks are, indeed, fun (they tend to be under the Artificial Intelligence category). There are also fairly boring problems (which tend to be under Algorithm Challenges, though still some good stuff there) and the extremely silly category of Code Golf (which has taught me that Lisp is a relatively verbose language, and that I am more than okay with that).

To people that are "working through Project Euler", unless you are a mathematician by trade, HackerRank is probably a much better use of your time if you are interested in improving your programming skills for the real world in any language.

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