how Revolution did in programming contest: 82nd percentile

Dar Scott dsc at
Tue Sep 21 16:42:37 EDT 2004

On Sep 21, 2004, at 12:21 PM, Andre Garzia wrote:

> I tried participating the contest some years ago with a scheme source, 
> it's nice to see Transcript making better than OCaml. You and your son 
> should receive our sincere cumpliments! it's a great thing for all 
> xTalkers to know that we can compete with chances in the programming 
> contest arena. By the way, ever thought of writing a postmortem about 
> this project.

OCaml did very well!  There is a high correlation, I think, to being 
near the front and using OCaml.  It might be that it has a certain 
advantage, or it might be that only hot-shot programmers would even 
think of using it.  Its performance here has certainly got my 
attention.  Haskell and C++ also did OK, but not in the lightning 
division, which I think says something.

I did notice today that I was not completely fair in my comparison.  I 
threw away our very ugly second entry in my comparison, but did not 
take the time to do that for the other teams.   Even so, I think we did 
well and the numbers might not change much.  (For most teams, the 
second entry came in near the first.)

I think the contest is great for ad hoc teams.  There can easily be 
lots of sub-projects of various sizes, maybe some competing.

I don't know if I'll have time for a postmortem, but I'll make a couple 
comments.  The ability in transcript to work at both low level (bits 
and bytes) and mid level (arrays and chunks and files) was a big plus.  
The interactive development environment helped, too.  In this project I 
found myself wanting faster graphics, constant-time integer-subscript 
arrays, macros and cached 'do' or similar.

It is hard to say what the placing of a single team means for 
Transcript and the Revolution IDE, but I think it is cool that it was 
even on the list of competing against teams using new-fangled 


     Dar Scott Consulting
     Programming Services

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