Last Thursday was the Google Hashcode, and team cat /dev/urandom >> solution.cpp was at our usual business again. It was a really, really nice competition, and we did okay! The task was to write a tool to optimise the routes of delivery drones bringing products of certain types from warehouses to order locations. My solution was to start off by simplifying the problem; each drone could only carry one item of a certain type, and each drone took one order, removed it from the queue, and when it was finished, took another order from the queue. We got points, and quite a few of them. I kept updating our solution iteratively; by prioritising closer orders, packing more into the drones (firstly almost randomly, then with a "bin packing" algorithm - a new one for me), and the like.

At our peak we were in 51st place. Gary, the organiser of the DCU host, looked very shocked we were doing okay.

In the end, we came 120th out of a little over 1000 teams on the scoreboard; I was told there were 1300 teams or so altogether. We did the best in the DCU hub, and may well have done the best in Ireland.

I'm delighted, team cat /dev/urandom >> solution.cpp beat the twins in second year of CPSSD for the first time, I got a Google badge, and I learned a little bit about 'bin packing'!

The Openet de/coding event is on Thursday week, and then there's the NUIG Compsoc hackathon at the beginning of next month, then my own programming competition. Plus, myself and Cian will be giving a talk titled 'Competitive Programming = Money' today, to open Techweek. I'm setting up a site here to keep track of the competitive programming bits and bobs that might be of interest to Redbrick members too. I'm also helping out with the AIPO this weekend. No rest for the wicked!

Ádh mór leat,


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