Monday, May 28, 2018

CodeChef Workshop Experience

A little self bragging (About the Author)

I have been involved in and enjoyed building projects since a very long time. As of now I am doing my integrated msc mathematics from NIT Surat (aka SVNIT). I have had very little experience with competitive coding problems and the workshop had a lot of new things in store for me. This workshop taught us concepts with problem solving approach which I enjoyed thoroughly. My main aim to attend this workshop was to improve my coding skills and be a more productive/efficient developer than before. 
I heard about this workshop through the codechef website and was one of the early bird registratant to it. The workshop was well timed and started 4 days after my end-semester exams, so I packed up my bags left for Hyderabad. 


The workshop was conducted at MLRIT (stands for something something Institute of Technology). The campus was not widespread or huge but had some really amazing facilities. It had olympic size indoor badminton stadium, a well mantained cricket ground, a flourshing incubation cell for startups and some pretty amazing eating outlets. The hostels' hygine was not upto the mark and apparently the institute took good care of its' mosquitoes and insects as well as the students in it. The quality of food was pretty good considering it was mess food. Although a little variety for students coming from north would have been more apprciated. (Yes. I come from north and I like eating chapatti and using spoons for god's sake!)

I arrived on 14th May to MLRIT and the workshop kicked off from 15th May. 


The main objective of the workshop was to incultivate problem solving skills using data strucutres and algorithms. It was a beginner level workshop which covered, Greedy Algorithms, Arrays, Stacks, Queues, Dynamic Programming. We had 7-12 questions discussed on a daily basis, out of which 4-5 were compulsary problems whereas rest were optional. The questions were from codechef website.  As the workshop was targetted at people who wanted to be introduced to programming the questions were kept fairly simple and basic. (and rightly so!). 


The attendees of the workshop was a pretty good mix of people. We had couple of school students and a few professionals but most of the crowd was college students. My team of 8 also had pretty high diversity and included a pro coder, a born management guy, some sporty folks, some sincere folks and some seriously lazy people. To everyone's suprise (and our's also) we ended up coming third as a team in the complete workshop. 
The lectures were conducted by Arjun Arul (google his resume, it's pretty dope) and he made sure that we understood what he was saying. He very quickly understood the wrong approaches as well as the correct ones and took us on lullaby ride of a wrong approach just to prove it is wrong and how to arrive at the right one. We also had trainers that helped us during the lab sessions. All of them were 5-star rated codechef members and were really helpful and got us through from understanding the logic to debugging our code!

Stuff I need to mention

We also had a lot of games. This included badminton, table tennis, volleyball, dodgeball, chess, scrabble, othello and football. Our team went to the semi-finals of Volleyball, Chess and Scrabble. The points from the games were added to our team score on which the top 3 teams were declared. Overall the workshop served as complete package which had sports, learning, coding and a lot of fun. 


The people were easy to make friends with(including trainers, and lecturer) and the environement was very receptive of the differences of ideologies and intellectual capacties. It gave me good grasp on basic concepts and broke the inertia which prevented me from participating and being involved in coding contests. I plan to carry forward the learning by myself now and see where it leads me. 

P.S Will update this posts with some pics as soon as I receive them.