Sunday, March 09, 2008

Judging Experience

Today, was one of the transition days for me. I have been a regular participant in programming contests since my undergraduate days. I have participated in different types of contests, including onsite contests, overnight contests, and online contests. I had a amazing team with one of my best friends, Mr.D@BADBoyz. Our team of two was wonderful and it is evident from the fact that among all the contests that we participated together we won all of them but one (in which we came second to a team of software developers - we were students then). Later we were joined by Mr.A@BADBoyz to make a team of three, for the ACM Asia C/C++ programming contest. We did not do any wonders in that contest, however, it was the best performance by our school team, and we were 18 out of participating 127 teams. Our team's name was BADBoyz@IET (and BAD was an acronym that I coined by picking up the first letter of each of our names). Anyways, this post is not about what all I did as a participant in a programming contests. This post is about my transition from a contestant to a judge.

Today, I was involved in organizing a small programming contest in my university along with few more enthusiasts. It was the first time, when I chose to get to the other side of the table. It was not that I did not get the opportunities to organize the contests earlier. I had got such an opportunity earlier during my undergrad as well. However, I was always more interested in participating in the contests then organizing it. This time along with organizing the contest and selecting the problems, I was also supposed to judge it. First time, did I realize how it feels to be on the other side of the table, when you are judging the solutions. I felt how bad it feels when you are telling someone that their solution is incorrect, their program is wrong, their logic is incomplete. I understood how difficult it is to explain your logic to someone, who has understood the problem in completely different direction. The thing that I missed was the excitement of cracking a problem and then waiting to find out if it was correct or not? For a programmer, this feeling is incomparable. This is something that an artist feels after giving a live performance.

Where do I go now? I will continue to participate in the contests, be it a judge or a participant. For me both are a different kinds of learnings, and I do not want to miss any of those.

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