Friday, 27 May 2016

Student? Expert Problem Solver? Win $2000 and a free trip to Glasgow

If you like coding and solving problems, and are a full-time student, you could win up to $2000 and an expenses-paid trip to a conference in Glasgow later this year.

All you need is a computer and some free software. The computer could be a Raspberry Pi (any model) or a laptop running Windows, OS/X or Linux. I'll tell you where to get the APL software further down this post.
First, though, a warning. If you enter this competition it could change your life!

I’m serious. Just under fifty years ago I had a chance to learn APL.

I did, and it shaped my whole career. I'm still using APL to research neural networks.

Now, if you want, it’s your turn.

The Dyalog APL 2016 problem solving competition 

Dyalog have just announced their annual APL problems solving competition. They want to introduce more people to this extraordinary, powerful language.

If you are a full time student you could win a big cash prize (up to $2000) and an expenses-paid trip to Glasgow later this year.

If you’re not a student, you can still enter, stretch your mental muscles, and have fun.

In a minute I’ll explain how you can enter, and how you can start getting familiar with the language. Before that I’d like to show you a little of what APL can do and why it’s so powerful.

Meet APL: the most productive programming language I know


Suppose you’re a scientist, or an engineer, or an entrepreneur and you need to crunch some numbers. Perhaps you’ve just done an experiment or got some sales figures in. Whatever the background, you have two sets of data:

    expected ← 10 15 13 27 30
  actual ← 9 12 15 25 28

How much do the actual figures differ from what you expected?

1 3 ¯2 2 2

What’s the total difference?


If you’re into statistics, you might ask for the average difference. You could start by writing a program to calculate averages:

    average ← {(+/⍵)÷⍴⍵} ⍝ divide sum by number of elements
    average difference

As you can see, APL is powerful and concise. If you want to find out more, and maybe win a cash prize, you should enter the competition today.

5 Steps to enter


  • Register for the competition here and click the purple ‘Start the competition’ button.You should get a confirmation email within 10 minutes. If you don’t, check your spam folder. If the email is not there, notify
  • Install Dyalog APL on your own machine. You can use a Windows, Linux or OS/X laptop or a Raspberry Pi. 
If you're using a Raspberry Pi you can find out how to install the free software here.

If you're using a laptop you will need to get a license from Dyalog; students can get a free educational licence, and anyone else can get a personal licence for a minimum charge. 
  • Work on the problems for phase 1 and phase 2. There's more information here.
  • When you’re ready, submit your entry.
Then wait to hear the results. Make sure you keep October 9-13, 2016 clear in case you win a trip to the Glasgow conference!


Free tips by email


I’ll be sending out a few tips about getting started (but no solutions!) over the next few days. If you want them, sign up below. I won’t spam you, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I’m also working on an extra bonus which I hope to offer in one of the emails later this month.

Sign up for the email tips below.

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