Weekend Review

What has Colin been up to this weekend?

Well, Friday night saw him beat Jared at racquetball for this first time this semester (Not the whole match, just 1 game of 3…). Came off the blocks strong with a 13-1 lead, but somehow only ended up beating him 15-12. Tough break on the failed come back there, Jared… The other two games were a lot more typical, scorewise, though I played better than I ever have before, and Jared took a pretty good beating trying to stay ahead.

Later that evening we also caught a showing of A History of Violence. Definitely a different sort of movie. Pretty mellow throughout, though gruesome fight scenes when such did take place. I was disappointed by the lack of a soundtrack for the majority of the movie. A couple people behind us walked out, it was dragging on so long in the middle, but overall, pretty decent. My movie recommendation: Rent, don’t watch in theater or buy on DVD. Not intended for immature audiences.

Saturday was, of course, dominated by Wisconsin football. They gave us all these free towels (much more impressive when we were all holding them up- this picture doesn’t do justice) courtesy of U.S. Cellular, which, incidentally, is Cellcom’s partner carrier in the Madison area. The game was good in the second half, though the first half looked a bit rough. Tied at half time 10-10, the badgers caught some lucky breaks (like interceptions returned for points) that turned the game around to win it 31-20. After the game and a Toppers pizza, I headed back to the dorm for some programming practice.

Said practice being for Sunday’s main event: an ICPC practice team competition. My teammates, Ray Wong and Brian Byrne, and I worked for 5 hours on a set of 8 problems. We solved 3 completely with our answers accepted, a 4th was nearly accepted, except for a few test cases that the graders (our coaches) weren’t sure if our program was in error or the test case, so that 4th program was questionable at the time, and a 5th which we nearly completed by the end of the event, but which didn’t compile : (. It took about half an hour of more work afterward for me to get it to run correctly- we had made both typos and logic errors in our last second effort to get the program written. So we solved 3 and nearly solved 5, which I think is pretty good, seeing as we’d never programmed together before, and the “1st” team from Madison solved 4, nearly 5. A cool technical trivia note on why I think our 4th problem didn’t match up in all cases: the numbers involved in calculating the answer were on the scale of 9^8 (9 to the 8th power), which is greater than 2^32 (which is greater than 2 billion). The datatype we were using in our program could only store unique integers through 2^31. Thus, in the most complex test cases, if the appropriate inputs were given (way up in the corner of a really huge [2 billion subdivisions per side] graph), our program would encounter a nasty error known as integer overflow. What’s (2^32 -1) + 1 to a computer? -(2^32-1). It wraps around… Gah…

Anyway, that was my weekend, in more detail than you probably cared for. Now I need to find time to complete statistics and reading assignments for tomorrow, a circuit analysis assignment for wednesday, and study for two midterms for thursday. Busy, busy, busy.

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