September 1st, 2004

color cycle (slow)

Trouble keeps you running faster

(Bonus points to whoever can identify the video game with its title song referenced at the subjline of the post.)

TopCoder was interesting this evening. I gained 99 rating points for a strong finish, solving the 250 and 500 in mediocre time. 'Twas fun!

Especially the 500. It required my knowledge of cleverness in tree/graph algorithm stuff, and it took actual programming to solve, but I could do it. It wasn't one of those impossible 1000s, and it wasn't a "here's the algorithm, implement it." I don't feel like recapping the problem or my solution- either can be found (my handle there is Windrider) on the TopCoder web site.

What was fun was when trying to compile the program, it spit out a useful little compilation error. Heading to the line, it suddenly pointed out a huge gaping logic error I had made. I'd never have found it if I wasn't required to cast absolutely everything in Java; I would have spent a bunch of time tracing a phantom runtime error. Instead, my program ran perfectly the first time it actually compiled.

Yay for strict languages!