Three Mini-contests 13

Posted by Ned Gulley,

We’re in the final few days of the contest, and we know that you’re anxious to know what prizes remain to be claimed. We’ll give you a few options.

First of all, we’re bringing back the venerable 1000-Node Challenge. The 1000-Node Prize will go to the entry with the best score that

  1. has 1000 or fewer nodes, and
  2. is submitted before 16:00 UTC time tomorrow (19 April)

Remember, you don’t need to shorten your variable names or remove comments to win this challenge. That’s exactly why we made it a node-count prize and not a character-count prize. This is how you calculate your node count.

t = mtree(filename,'-file');

Sergey is the acknowledged master of the Short Form. Can you beat him?

Next, as suggested we’re going to try a No Bogus Words Challenge. If you want to enter, you need to signal it to us by putting the three letters NBW at the beginning of your entry’s name (e.g. “NBW My Super Duper Entry”). We’re not changing the contest scoring code, so we’ll be checking your code after the fact. When the deadline has passed, we’ll look at the leading NBW entry and check it. Beware: if it actually does use any bogus words, the author will be disqualified from winning the NBW prize on any other entries, and we’ll move on to the next potential winner. The NBW winner needs to be submitted before 21:00 UTC on 19 April.

(If we had it all to do over again, we’d probably have made the bogus word penalties higher. But you never know how things are going to go until you start the contest and see what entries come in.)

Finally, there’s the Six Million Dollar Man prize. If you can break 6,000,000 for your “result”, regardless of any other consideration, you win the prize (note that you don’t actually win $6,000,000). Naturally, you can’t exceed the time limit, but other that that, all that matters is the result. My friend Dave on the contest team says it can’t be done. I realize it’s a stretch goal. We’ll just throw it out there and see what happens.

13 CommentsOldest to Newest

Alan Chalker replied on : 1 of 13

Ned: On the stats page it looks like the 1000 node list is actually only showing 100 node or less entries.

oli replied on : 4 of 13

I suggest you add a section in the statistics showing the top entries with ‘NBW’ in the title :)

Alan Chalker replied on : 5 of 13

I’m curious whether or not the test suite is truly representative of the contest suite with regards to the No Bogus Words challenge. Usually the contest team puts in a couple specially designed sneaky / tricky extra boards in the contest suite. So while we may run our NBW entries at home and be confident there are no bogus words created, is it possible that the same solvers might generate bogus words on the contest suite accidentally without us knowing?

Amitabh replied on : 6 of 13

@ Oli: To view the top NBW entries you can use the search function on the Submissions’s page using the keyword “NBW”. However, as mentioned by the contest team we wont know if an entry produces a bogus word until the end of the contest.

David Hruska replied on : 7 of 13

@Alan – I suppose it’s possible that a solver might generate bogus words for some tests and not others. However, if you’re entering the “No Bogus Words” mini-contest, you should be careful that your solver does not create any bogus words. The solver has complete control over how the words in the solution are placed and so a well-written solver would *never* produce any bogus words regardless of the test suite used.

oli replied on : 8 of 13

Thanks :)

On a different note, it’s funny that there are only 26 number used in almost all boards (of the ‘test’ test suite anyway).
I wondered for a second if the words could be real words and the solver would generate real crossword boards.
until I realized there probably aren’t that many 51-letter words in english…

Alan Chalker replied on : 9 of 13

Oli, the reason there are only 26 numbers is because that’s the number of letters in the alphabet. The second flag in the runcontest routine switches modes so that instead of numbers being displayed, characters are displayed. It couldn’t do that if the numbers weren’t the ASCII equivalent of actual letters.

Ned replied on : 11 of 13

Hi Sunke:

No… once we define a mini-contest, we need to stick to the original definition out of fairness to everyone who participates. We could do another one, but I think it’s time now to settle into the home stretch for the main contest. I hope that some lessons learned from the mini-contests might percolate back into the main code.

oli replied on : 12 of 13

Thanks, I didn’t know that (I cannot use the test suite).
I obviously thought of the 26 letters, that’s why I wondered if the words could be real words :)

Also, congrats for the NBW, that one might percolate indeed…

Alan Chalker replied on : 13 of 13

Oli, thanks. I guess there is some sort of karma thing going on here since I was the one to suggest the NBW contest in the newsgroup;)