Thursday, 26 April 2007

Goals of the ICFP Programming Contest

One of the first things we discussed in the organization team of the ICFP Programming Contest 2007 was what we want to achieve with the contest. We never drew up an ordered list, but the general concensus was that being able to

Show off your favourite programming (language) tools and programming capabilities

is one of the most important goals of the contest. A second important aspect is that

The contest should be fun.

These goals largely coincided with the goals of the previous contests. And of course, they are reflected in the prizes.

Btw, something interesting happened today. I was visiting the systems people to arrange computers and screens for some of the new organization team members. The systems guy was telling me that apparently the power outage from a couple of days ago had been caused by a SPAM mail message of a couple of megabytes that was triggering a bug in our server. The message itself seemed to be strange: several hundreds of attachments, all of them in strange encodings not known to our software.

Out of curiosity, I asked to get the message, and I will have a closer look at it later (although the contest doesn't leave me a lot of spare time). Since I suppose this blog will be read by clever language people, I might come back to it here.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Power outage

We had a power outage in the ICS department over the weekend. Luckily, nothing important seems to have been damaged. It is a bit disconcerting to see such a thing happening in the midst of the organisation efforts for the ICFP Programming Contest... Especially since we want to start with the first test runs. We deferred the start of our test run by two days. There is still almost three months to go before the contest starts, of course. (Actually: today is exactly 3 months before the contest ends.)

Our systems people are still busy to find out what exactly happened. Only our department seems to have been affected - other floors of our building haven't had any problems.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

ICFP Programming Contest 2007

We're working hard on organizing the ICFP Programming Contest 2007 here at Utrecht University (and abroad). For information about the programming contest, see I intend to blog about our efforts in organizing this contest in this spot. From an organizer's perspective, I think this is the world's most complicated programming contest. Contestants can use any tools, programming languages, libraries, and internet resources they like, for 72 hours. To quote our systems manager, this is a real `free software fight'.