how Revolution did in programming contest: 82nd percentile

Dar Scott dsc at
Mon Sep 20 22:41:48 EDT 2004

The results are in!

Back in June my son and I entered a programming contest.  He was a 
strategist and I did the Transcript programming.

We got a very late start, but had a world simulator going for the 
lightning division written in Revolution.  We created an ant brain by 
hand on a big sheet of paper and keyed that in.  Our two entries placed 
57 and 58 out of 87 entries in the lightning division, pretty good for 
starting almost half way though the lightning division's 24 hours.  
Notice that most of the teams did not have an entry for the lightning 
division; only 52 out of 230 teams had an entry ready for the lightning 
division.  Only a dozen languages were represented.

We did well for the main division.  For the main division, we cleaned 
up the world simulator and created an ant-brain compiler using 
Revolution.  As we approached the end (just three hours to go) we had 
some cool ideas but I wimped out and entered what we had, thinking we 
were going to crash (we people).  I now think we should have done it.  
Also, that would have exploited some Transcript features.  (For some 
reason the "ant [brain] size" is wrong for our entries on the web 
pages; I think we generated files that the competition player liked, 
but the line counter did not.  Too long of comments, I guess.)  We came 
in 65th out of 361.  We were allowed to enter two, and we threw in an 
older ugly one, but it didn't do as well.

Ours was the only entry in any Xtalk.

The prize winners' languages were 1) Objective Caml, 2) a mix of Java, 
C++, Perl & M4, 3) Haskell and 4) C++.

In the main division we beat all the Basic, Pascal, Erlang, Smalltalk 
and tcl entries as well as others.  That may not say much; they had few 

We beat most of the Objective C, Perl, Python, Lisp, Scheme, ML, Ruby, 
Haskell, Java, C-variant* entries.

Our team was smaller than most teams up where we placed, so we are 


* C++, C, D and C# taken as a whole

     Dar Scott Consulting
     Programming Services

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