Humbly Report: Sean Bechhofer

Semantics 'n' stuff


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Team [bell character] on their relentless march to victory

We had the annual School of Computer Science “Staff vs Students” coding competition this week. This is a competition run along the lines of the ACM_ICPC with teams of two trying to solve algorithmic problems. The problems are small in the sense that are specified in a paragraph or two, but are far from trivial! Each team of two had three hours to crack as many of the six problems as they could.

The competition is managed using the DOMjudge system. Solutions are uploaded via a web interface, where the system will then check for correctness. The system provides little feedback, with responses being along the lines of CORRECT, WRONG-ANSWER or reporting an issue with time or memory (solutions must run with limited resources). Teams can submit multiple attempts, with incorrect solutions attracting a time penalty, and the first team to solve a problem getting a bonus. This year we had 23 student teams along with 6 teams containing at least one staff member (staff can also pair with PhD students).

I teamed up with Valentino, one of our PhD students, and I’m pleased to say that, while we didn’t win, nor did we disgrace ourselves, managing to solve two problems in the time allotted, with a respectable mid-table finish. I committed the schoolboy error of diving into Problem A without doing sufficient triage and spent a huge amount of time on it. Problem C was much easier! Lessons learnt. Or perhaps not, as I did exactly the same thing last year….

Roll of Honour

  • 1st: [bell character](Staff/PhD)
    Dave Lester, Jonathan Heathcote
  • 2nd Breaking Bad
    Hikmat Hajiyev, Ramin Jafarov
  • 3rd/Best 1st year team Sandy
    Andi Zhang, Qingyang Feng

Anyway, results aside, it was a lot of fun and one of the events that contributes to the friendly social atmosphere that I think we have within the School. We adjourned to the pub later on where Head of School Jim Miles stood a round of drinks and I was entertained by some pretty impressive card tricks by one of my first year tutees.

Kudos to the organising committee of Karol Jurasiński, Ion Diaconu, Ettore Torti, Tudor Morar and Gavin Brown who also do a great job in managing the Schools Coding Dojo and co-ordinating participation in external competitions. The final rankings were clear, with the top team solving four problems, and second and third three. There was then clear daylight between those and the rest of the bunch with all the other teams solving two or fewer.

See you!


Written by Sean Bechhofer

May 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Posted in teaching

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