Hmmm… Google code jam really took it to me in Round 1A. I thought I would be clever and use strategy to get into the top 1000.
I knew my strengths and weaknesses.
Weakness- only a month of programming experience and in Python (which doesn’t execute as fast as C++), so speed is not my friend
Strength- problem solving ability
So, after practicing some old GCJ problems and surveying the difficulty of past round 1 questions, as well as checking out what scores would get me in the top thousand, I settled on the strategy of just going for the hardest problem. I figured I could somewhat easily get the first problem and probably the second – but in the past you would need to do that (get one and two, or one) moderately fast to get in the top thousand. And speed probably isn’t my strength yet, so I went right to Pseudominion.
After reading the problem, it lulled me into believing I could certainly answer it – so I went to work on it. I realized a little too late all the caveats to the planned algorithm I came up with, and then had a heck of a time getting all the extra cases taken care of.
RAN OUT OF TIME. It really got me good. So 0 points!!
The questions this year seem a step harder than past problems in equivalent rounds that I’ve practiced with.
Perhaps I will start with the middle problem in Round 1B (or Round 1C depending on what my pregnant wife and two kids have in store for me tomorrow).