Sunday, June 26, 2011

Digest: TopCoder, Python and other stuff

Hi all! This blog post will be in form of a digest just to summarize all that I had to post in last two months:)

"Welcome back to TopCoder" or "TopCoder: go up, go down". Recently I considered to resume my activity at TopCoder in those tracks that I've participated before. While unfortunately I didn't manage to code some TC component due to lack of free time, I participated in both algorithm tracks - SRMs and Marathons. Actually second part of this paragraph's header is related to my Algorithm's rating :) Just look at it. I managed to reach my highest rating ever and then to get -300 :) I cannot actually explain why my results are so unstable, maybe it is just "shit happens"-behavior, or maybe sometimes I can reach "clear mind" state and sometimes I can't. You suggestions in comments are welcomed.

As for marathons, my rating decrease was foreseeable because my aim was just to code working solutions in Python in free time and I accomplished that goal in two matches (one of those was unrated). This was done just to practice in Python and it's a little pity that there weren't too much Python solutions to compare with or to learn them.

Learning Python. IMO the best way to learn new language/technology is to code as much as possible. Of course, you need to know some must-know stuff but don't accent reading many textbooks without actual coding, of course, if all what you need is not just to pass one of those dummy MS certificate exams:) So as I mentioned above I practiced Python in TC Marathons. With the same purpose I registered at SPOJ - the only major online judge that I know to have possibility to test solutions in Python. Though currently I don't have much to boast of on SPOJ :)  Also I'm considering to start contributing to some Python open-source project, probably, Orange or Natural Language Toolkit. Any considerations on the subject?

Master's degree. Yes, finally I've got it:) Believe me or not, I'm not sure how my degree title sounds like officially :-[ I think it's either Master of Applied Mathematics or Master in System Analysis and Management but let's wait when I hold my diploma in my hands:) Maybe something will change in future, but now my decision is to cease my further academic education for several reasons. This will help me concentrate on other things.

Important personal stuff. Well, this blog is intended to be purely with programming-related topics, but there is something that I cannot ignore to mention. I'm going to get married!:) And it will happen in a month. That also explains why I was so busy lately:) You congratulations are welcomed in comments :-P