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color cycle (slow)

Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Third Time's the Charm
color cycle (slow)
So I just finished Round 3 of the TCO.

After the Coding Phase, I was 11th in room, and 114 overall.
After the Challenge Phase, I was 4th in room, and 32 overall.
After the System Test Phase, I was 2nd in room, and dropped to 58 overall (250 failed- guess "brute force" wasn't so immune to timeout after all).

The upshot to this? Because 58 < 100, I'm in Round 4, and because I'm second in room- again!- I've netted myself another $100.00, bringing my TCO '05 winnings to $225.00.

If I can keep staying second in the room for the entire remainder of the competition, I'll be in very good shape, y'know? I somehow doubt that'll happen.

But onsite doesn't feel so far out of reach.

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much congratulations and a touch of nerd envy

There's nothing stopping you from joining at http://www.topcoder.com/ , y'know. You wouldn't be elligible for the next tournament- the TCCC- because you're not an undergraduate; I'm not sure if grad students are accepted. But you can play in the regular weekly matches- and that is valuable for practice before trying a major tournament.

Congrats on your performance! I took my time and didn't have a challenge, though maybe I should've.

TCCC does allow grad students though. Ryan, John Deth, tomek and probably quite a few others are grad students..

For some odd reason, years of exposure to programming techniques in classes has had the opposite effect of what I think it was supposed to -- I program much more slowly and with more bugs to be found than I used to, which means I probably wouldn't do particularly well.

I completely sucked when I started TopCoder. Now? As dplass said, my rating chart has gone vertical. You might not do so well at the start. You might even find yourself in Division II. But you'll get better, and it's very valuable practice; I learned more about java.util and the Standard Template Library from TopCoder than I ever learned anywhere else. Also, you'll find it a great place to apply 441 immediately- it'll get you used to thinking that way.

I may actually manage to completely avoid 441 (by taking the evidently more difficult 542, but I like the professor, and it's more immediately applicable to my field of research).

It's something that I might look into at some point in the future, but I've got enough on my plate right now that I don't know that I need to be adding anything else that would cause more stress -- and with me as competitive and as much of a perfectionist as I am, it would definitely add stress -- at the moment.

Keep it up - sounds like you're kicking ass.

And on top of the (essentially free) cash, what a line on the resume!

Many congratulations, and good luck for the remainder.

What matters most is the next round- because if I'm in 48th place or better at the end of the next round, I'll be in the semi-finals, on-site in California, at TopCoder's expense...

Where in California? Any chance of a visit?

Well, according to the TopCoder site:

Finals held at:

* Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara, CA

The problem is the schedule. Every day of the contest has 13 hours of events scheudled, and I suspect that will pretty thoroughly take my time- and then that's assuming I'll even make it on site! The 100 coders left are nearly the 100 best on the site (which, all things considered, I really am not) and winding up in the top 48 of them will be a challenge.

I'll do my best!

The other problem is that even though they'd have to pay their own ways, my parents would almost certainly come. While the hotel room I'm given is, I believe, mandatory, there's that nice little aspect of my parents wanting to know what I'm doing at all times and probably supervising me for most or all of it.

And what my parents really won't like is that just making it to round 4 requires that I file a photo of myself with TopCoder- I've got to do that tomorrow so I can send it in by Friday. Whoops. I don't mind, but my parents will- as it's public on the site, and they wouldn't want my actual photo to ever be associated with my online presence, as they have made clear far too many times. Too bad for them; it's worth too much to me. They can't stop me now. (BWAHAHAHAHA!)

But... should be interesting!

I'm quite certain, mind you, that the contest is "public viewing allowed", so if you want to watch me sit on my ass behind a computer for two hours (should I make it onsite), you'd be welcome to do so!

Nice job, again!
I was really nervous after my 500 went down, and my 1000 was just barely too imprecise (I'm not kidding. One entry in the returned vector had a relative error of 1.1e-9, which is just outside the allowed error of 1e-9...). Luckily, I noted that after challenge phase, my 250 + 50 points for a challenge was good for exactly 100th.

So 73rd overall isn't exactly great, but I'll take it. The next one's the really important one anyhow.

You scare me.

...and I'm not sure if it's in a good way or not. :P

Many congratulations and best of luck in the rest!

Yay whoo hoo congrats!

Excellent. I predict your winnings to be over $400

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