Sunday, November 16, 2008

Code Jam (like raspberry jam, but better)

Normally I blog about my trips while I'm on them (to kill time in airports), but this one was so short I didn't even both taking a laptop. In fact, I didn't even bother taking checked baggage, instead fitting everything for two days into a backpack. That sounds reasonably enough until you realise that it includes a keyboard and sufficient warm weather gear to stand around waiting for a bus in Cambridge. On the way back I think the backpack was about 99% of its theoretical maximum capacity.

The Code Jam itself is a contest run by Google. I've been to a previous one that ran on the TopCoder engine, but this time they've made a new format which really suits me. It's a lot less time-pressured than TC, and also more forgiving of mistakes. Having won my regional and finished in the top 3 in every round, I thought my chances were pretty good, but unfortunately I panicked near the end (partially because I forgot the contest started late and so I had more time than I thought), and so ended up third. Nevertheless I'm fairly happy since I didn't screw anything else up.

Pictures to follow - unfortunately not many or very exciting, since I didn't take my camera to the Googleplex on the assumption that they wouldn't allow photography (and indeed they didn't allow it inside the buildings).