Friday, May 04, 2007

The wonderful world of corporate sponsorship

Yes, I'm travelling again, this time to Johannesburg, where the weather is nice but incredibly dry. The event is the Standard Bank IT Challenge, a programming contest which Standard Bank throws insane amounts of money at. They put us in the Park Hyatt (where a room for the night is more than my rent), flew judges out from England business class, and handed out MacBook Pros as prizes.

The regional (to determine which team advances from each university) was on Saturday, and was actually the tougher part. UCT fielded some very impressive competition, and we (myself, Carl Hultquist, Chris de Kadt and James Gray) only just won in the last ten minutes. If the results from all the regionals were merged, UCT took the top 5 places. Us and one other UCT team solved 4, the next other university was Stellenbosch with 2.

With that out of the way, the finals felt almost like taking candy from babies. We solved all 6 questions with about an hour to spare (much to the annoyance of the judges, who thought they'd upped the difficulty to challenge us) and we somehow did it without a single wrong submission; Stellenbosch came in second with only 3. So, the moral of the story is that UCT rocks at programming, and us old dogs can still show the young guys a thing or two. Also, MacOS X is shiny, but I don't think it will be too long before I'm installing Gentoo as well (about the first thing I did was download Firefox for Mac so that I could actually have TABS).

So, as may be inferred, I'm now sitting in the hotel playing with my shiny new MacBook Pro, killing time until it's time to go to the airport. After that the hard work starts, since we're going straight from this to coach at an olympiad training camp.