ICFP 2007! Who's playing?

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iw
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ICFP 2007! Who's playing?

Postby iw » Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:31 am UTC

http://www.icfpcontest.org/

It's still more than a month away, but I'm excited about this year's contest now. For those of you who don't know, the ICFP is seen by many as the king of online programming competitions. It's designed to showcase how powerful and useful functional programming languages are, but the catch is that you can use any programming language whatsoever to complete the tasks. The tasks are cleverly devised so that you don't gain a significant advantage no matter what computing tools you use.

Last year's contest was absolutely brilliant, requiring you to first build an interpreter for a made up bytecode format. Then they gave you a program written in that format, which ended up being its own operating system (in a sense), in which you then had to program *other* tasks. When all was said and done, you had to use techniques from tree parsing to genetic algorithms to get everything right. You can still download all the files. I still think it's one of the best programming exercises for anyone wanting to improve their skills: http://www.boundvariable.org/

Previous years have included a cops and robbers game, a game of warring ants (which morphed into an online community that plays the game still: http://ant-wars.net/), and so on. Some of the earlier competitions were kinda lame (XML-style parsing), but the contests have gotten really good and quite exciting.

There's already a blog up for this year, which seems to involve alterations of images and alien garbage collectors: http://johanjeuring.blogspot.com/

Some friends and I participated last year under the moniker of "Pretend Robot Pants" (96th place! ;)) and had an absolute blast. I plan to do it again this year, albeit with less help from my friends. Has anyone taken part in this contest? Are people thinking about playing this year? All of you should definitely take a crack at it if you have the time. (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an xkcd forum team last year.)

rrenaud
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Postby rrenaud » Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:44 pm UTC

I want to do it, but I don't have a team.

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pertheusual
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Postby pertheusual » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 pm UTC

That looks really interesting. I'd consider it, but I'm not sure if my skills are up to par.

I was just looking around at the 2006 Contest, but it seems like I'm misunderstanding something in the spec.
Not sure how much you remember or if you have your UM around still, but I was wondering, the first few op codes are 0, 3, 13, 13, 13, 13, 12
I guess I'm not understanding what 12 is supposed to load. It's B points to register 6, but none of the earlier commands set anything in 6.
What am I missing?

iw
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:58 am UTC

Postby iw » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:59 am UTC

pertheusual wrote:I was just looking around at the 2006 Contest, but it seems like I'm misunderstanding something in the spec.
Not sure how much you remember or if you have your UM around still, but I was wondering, the first few op codes are 0, 3, 13, 13, 13, 13, 12
I guess I'm not understanding what 12 is supposed to load. It's B points to register 6, but none of the earlier commands set anything in 6.
What am I missing?

Since the B value points to register 6, you are supposed to read register 6 and get a value from it, call it x. Then you copy array x into Array 0 (replacing the old one). All the registers are initialized with the value of 0, so since register 6 wasn't set, it points to Array 0. So since there's no need to copy Array 0 over itself, all that's left is the second part of the instruction: moving the execution pointer to the offset in the register pointed to by the C code (in this case, register 0, which is set to 13).

This basically amounts to a jump command to offset 13.

You should see if people around here want to start a team (I already have one, tho). I have a feeling there are a lot of people that are really interested but don't have a team or don't feel up to par: they should get together and do it :)

iw
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Postby iw » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:47 pm UTC

Bump because the contest begins tomorrow at 6am EDT (12 noon CEST)!

ARVash
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Postby ARVash » Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:24 pm UTC

So, did anyone program in LOLCAT ?
Hey!

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Taejo
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Postby Taejo » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:33 pm UTC

I was on my university's team (the United Coding Team). We got into the top 15, but have been censored from telling much more.

It was a great deal of fun.

One of my teammate has blogged a bit about our experience at http://marco-za.blogspot.com/search/label/icfp[/url]
Indiscreet Mathematics, a comic about maths


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