November 9, 2003

The ACM competition

November 9, 2003 - Categories: development

Judging the 2003 ACM ICPC Manila regionals was tons of fun. Although I was somewhat delinquent in terms of making problems - I'd only made one which was simplified due to contest limitations - my problem was nonetheless included and a few teams actually solved it.

It was a straightforward problem - a text-based database. Helpful teacher that I was, I made several test cases that checked for specific errors in program logic, but had to merge them into one enormous test case for the contest. Coded the solution in 10 to 15 minutes and submitted it via PC^2 for testing. Very glad to see it work on the first run.

Had some tussles with PC^2 and compiler support. Jerome knew the magic cmd trick, though, so we managed to get all the compilers to work.

Glad to see the other people from the SEARCC contests. Seemed like nothing had changed. Mike still crazy-funny self. Chipi still somewhat insane (but very good). Mars (Gabutz) somewhat less insane (no more Wendy's action figures? awww).

Story: It was an hour or so before the contest and Ces still didn't have judges' test data for her problem. General panic. We quickly prepared 10 copies of a 10x10 matrix for her 3-D problem and started filling in letters. We finished the test data but weren't quite sure if it worked, so I sat down and quickly wrote a solution. Actual output and expected output differed. Inclined to trust program, so copied actual output into sample output for initial testing and then spent some time debugging the test data. (Debugging the test data! Pfft.) Eventually worked. Felt very pleased when other people solved the problem, as that confirmed that test data was now correct.

Rejoiced when a team finally solved my problem. Had been on pins and needles previously as had thought my problem ridiculously easy, thus lack of attempted solutions was most worrisome. A number of teams didn't test with sample output given in problem, tsk tsk.

Went bowling with Dominique, Chipi, Mike, Jerome, and Mars. Non-zero score. Very happy.

Ateneo still top-ranked Philippine team. Yay. =) Also, they beat more foreign teams than last year. 5th place, big improvement.

Must work on consistency, though. Last team freaked out and did not solve any.

Guidelines for BlueJ

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

- Guideline 1: Objects first. - Guideline 2: Don't start with a blank screen. - Guideline 3: Read code. - Guideline 4: Use "large" projects. - Guideline 5: Don't start with "main". - Guideline 6: Don't use "Hello World". - Guideline 7: Show program structure. - Guideline 8: Be careful with the user interface.

BlueJ stats

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

New wishlist: The Passionate Teacher

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

BlueJ robot world

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

BlueJ and jikes

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

bluej.compiler.type=jikes bluej.compiler.executable=jikes


November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized free Usenet (no binaries) Extremely good service, good spam filters

More emacs coolness – browse apropos

November 9, 2003 - Categories: emacs

Summary of today

November 9, 2003 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Finished the draft of my article for Crossroads. Submitted it already, but haven't received any confirmation yet. They'll notify me of acceptance or rejection within a few days. Had been thinking of writing an article on constructivism and collaboration in computer science education, or perhaps an article on the challenges we face in a small liberal-arts college, or perhaps the need for alternative teaching methods that do not require Internet access and fast computers. Found myself unable to write a coherent article based on those ideas, though. Grabbed my notes on tutoring and organized them into a rough article. Come to think of it, those notes are more useful for Crossroads' target audience of students.

Also worked on the CS21A syllabus. With some trepidation, have decided to go for an objects-first approach using the BlueJ learning environment. Need to make sure to deliver results or the senior teachers will frown on my experimentation. Feel, however, that this is the right way to go. Want students to be able to _see_ how their programs work, how it fits together. Expect them to outgrow BlueJ eventually. Looking forward to teaching them Eclipse in CS21B, but in the meantime, BlueJ offers many tools to help beginning programmers learn.

Should also package BeanShell just in case I want to use it to demonstrate other concepts. Its interpreter is more powerful than BlueJ's, but it has non-Java constructs.

Have also spent time browsing through BlueJ mailing list archives. If am going to use experimental technique this semester (a few days from now!), must make darned sure I know how to use it.

Sketched out opening day plan. Lots of tasks. Significantly more housekeeping on the first day in order to support certain experiments (study buddy, blogging), but hope that students do not get lost. Revised classroom policies to explain _why_ things were prohibited.

Most students not content with teachers who read off the slides. In fact, have not yet found anyone happy with that, although many okay with it because it makes reviewing for tests easier. Still, it's a colossal waste of time.

Tomorrow: Will go to school for early morning meeting (yikes!), file for new ID, install software on lab computers, have CDs burned, write documentation, and prepare for school. Have way too much to do, but do not have time to pack tonight so will end up coming home. (Must be fetched, probably.)