Sunday, May 19, 2024

Groups of blue men - 06.29.07 11:45 AM EDT

By jmzero
TopCoder Member

On Thursday night, AOL treated TopCoders to a meal at the Venetian and a show at the Blue Man Group. I'm afraid that once again cameras were prohibited, and I'm further afraid that text isn't quite the medium to describe this particular show. There was lights and tubes and paper and noise. They banged on things. The performing men were high in blueness, with a tendancy to stare at things. This may not sound terribly entertaining - you'll just have to trust me despite the failure of written language here. The show was a great mix of humor and wonder, and was received enthusiastically by the TopCoder crowd. Did I mention about the blueness?

I noticed during the show that there doesn't appear to be blue women. While I'm not an expert in genetics, I suppose their offspring are thus likely to be somewhat-less-blue men.

In any case, I've been very impressed throughout the event with the generosity and friendliness of the sponsors who make the event possible. Since the opening ceremony, sponsor representatives have been busy giving out food and drink, distributing prizes and loot, and running side events. In particular, I've spent some time chatting with the AOL reps. They're making great efforts to connect with developers on some of their new projects, and I'd certainly say they came to the right place in terms of meeting promising young programmers.

DRW Trading Group helped organize this year's traditional poker game, and msg555 claimed the honor of victory this time out. This is no small feat considering the sheer mass of brains at the table, though I'm sure he would have preferred to have made further progress in the algorithm tournament. His exit from round 2 is a sobering example of the exacting demands of the algorithm competition. Just one missed "&" character that should have connected his function's return value to a memo array - a typing omission - made the difference between a successful medium with working memoization and a befuddling timeout. The attendant swing in score made the difference between 1st and 8th place, and thus between jumping straight to the finals and an early exit. The algorithm competition can be a game of inches - but for high schooler msg555 it's unlikely to be his last shot at the touchdown.

I'll sign off for now with a shot of jmpld40, who seems to be trailed by a quantity of men everywhere she goes lately. While the action here was apparently a bit too intense for my camera, it's clear that the new perfume is working out. Those commercials don't lie!