Saturday, March 08, 2008

Las Vegas (again)

So, for those of you who wonder what mischief I've been getting up to on Saturday nights since arriving in the UK, the answer is... trying to take over the world. No, wait, I mean... programming. In fact, taking part in the 2008 TopCoder Open.

I had a less than stellar round today, but still managed to place 19th, which is enough to put me through to the semi-finals in Las Vegas in mid-May. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I found Vegas to be as tacky, lurid, and gambling-obsessed as it looks in the movies, so I'm not so keen on the location, but the contest itself is always fun. They've expanded it again this year (48 to 72 algorithm finalists), which I think might be a mistake as even with 48 you don't really get to know everyone, especially since difficult language groups tend to form cliques (Russian, Polish and Chinese for example - in fact there are precious few native English speakers (looks like probably one English, one Aussie, one or two American and me this time), although the Dutch are usually fun and this time it looks like there will be at least four of them.


Unknown said...

But surely it being so tacky and crap is actually a good reason to go? I for one can't believe it *is* actually that crappy, so I would need to see it myself. Please blog extensively.

Also, try to watch 'fear and loathingi nlas vegas' before you go.

alapan said...

Congrats on making it to the semis!

Las Vegas being tacky and crap makes a lot of sense - the whole point is to keep you inside the casino, not wandering around outside!

As for the different language cliques - surely, most of the people speak a decent amount of English anyway, so conversing with different people should not be too difficult. Alternatively, you can take up another language to get into one of the different cliques :)