Doug Woolley

  Douglas Woolley

Douglas Woolley

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Computer Programming Contests

In high school, I thoroughly enjoyed competing in computer programming contests. I got my first exposure to a computer contest toward the end of 9th grade when I was asked by a 10th grader to be partners with him as his typist in a state-wide programming contest. Although I did not know anything about computers or programming at the time, I had taken a year of typing on actual typewriters, so he knew that I was a quick typist. The contest did not go as well as he had hoped, partly because it was more difficult than expected for me to grasp my partner's hand-written notes or verbiage containing computer language and syntax that needed to be typed into the computer. Although we did not win anything that day, I was hooked on the idea of solving problems (often math oriented) with a computer by writing programs. Thus, I enrolled in a high school summer course for "Computer Math I", where I learned the Apple BASIC language and how to make the computer do things and solve problems, especially math oriented problems. I already loved mathematics, so this combination of programming and math was amazing to me. As 10th grade started, I enrolled in "Computer Math II".

For my 10th grade science fair project, I programmed the computer to graphically solve the Rubik's Cube. In 11th grade, I experienced the thrill of leading our 3-person team to a first place finish at a state-wide competition. In 12th grade, I was the team captain of the state-championship team. We had solved all 30 programming problems within the 3 hour allotted time--a feat that had never been done before or since. At the national championships for Mu Alpha Theta, my partner and I had placed 5th in the national computer programming contest.

During the next 12 years, I went on to become the author and official judge of the Florida High Schools Computing Competition. I have compiled the work into a massive book containing the 30 problems for each of the years, along with the judging criteria, BASIC solutions, and Pascal solutions. You may click the link below to see more details:

Florida High Schools Computing Competition
Problems, Judging Criteria, BASIC Solutions, Pascal Solutions
1985 - 1994
by
Douglas E. Woolley


Top Coder

With the exception of competing in a Southeast Regional ACM competition as a junior in college, I have not had the privilege of competing in another programming contest since high school. It's been over two decades since I graduated from USF with a B.S. in Computer Science, and it's been longer than that since I competed, primarily because I knew of no contest for people who are not in high school or college. Then one day in the middle of 2012, I was listening to the Podcast "This Developer's Life" and I heard an interview with a young post-college student who had competed in "TopCoder," which is open to anyone who is at least 13 years of age. Wow! I found an international computer contest for which I can compete, even at my age and having graduated from universities.

The competition and interest level in computer programming is much greater now than back in my competition days. The TopCoder competition is totally amazing, as it draws thousands of contestants from around the world to compete AT THE SAME TIME via the Internet. Three programming problems are given (in order of difficulty) with 75 minutes to complete them in one of four languages: Java, C++, C#, or Visual Basic. Although I had learned Java and C++, I had more experience in Visual Basic and C#, with the latter language being my favorite and the one in which I wrote programs for my work at Verizon as a Web Developer. In late 2013, after the Google company reached out to me with possible Java opportunities, I switched over to using Java in the contests.

My passion for solving algorithm problems via computer programs has persisted since 2012. Of the tens of thousands of competitors in TopCoder over the years, I have the 5th longest consecutive SRM appearance in history (since it started around 2001).

Longest Consecutive SRM in Div 2
   Current statistics can be found here: https://community.topcoder.com/stat?&c=consecutive_srm_appearances

 

Further, I've also succeeded to win the room (of 20 people) in Division 2 a total of 14 times, achieving the 8th most wins in TopCoder history (for this division):

Topcoder All-time room wins in Div 2
Current statistics can be seen here: https://community.topcoder.com/stat?&c=all_time_wins_by_div&dn=2

 

Achieved one of the longest consecutive room win streaks in division 2:

TopCoder Most consecutive room wins
  Current statistics can be seen here: https://community.topcoder.com/stat?&c=most_consecutive_wins&dn=2


TCO 16 NYC SRM Regional

Overwhelmed at placing 2nd in the Top Coder Open 2016 Regional in New York City, hosted by Google. Was also honored to have the privilege to give a presentation to the audience prior to the competition.

TCO16 NYC Doug Presenting

Pictured below are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers:

TCO 16 NYC SRM Results


TopCoder Open 2014 - Movies: https://community.topcoder.com/tco14/movies/

Community at TopCoder TCO 14
TCO14 Community Update - dwoolley3 2014 Topcoder Open Epilogue - TCO14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgQe-gs3Yng https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKbej7R8oU4



Top Coder Open 2013 - Movies: https://tccommunity.wpengine.com/tco14/movies/tco13/

2013 TopCoder Open - Closing Film
(Brief appearances in 2013 TopCoder Open - Closing Film)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_YmQGMuovs


TopCoder Competitors are divided into rooms of 20 people, from which contestants can challenge the code of others in the room after the coding phase and prior to the system test phase. Contests normally have about 1,000 coders in each of the two divisions.

With diligence in solving past competition problems, I hope to learn new techniques for developing algorithms and thus perform even better in the near future.


See the following links for international computer competitions:

Article on The 10 most popular coding challenge websites for 2017

Blog by the top rated programmer in the world: ALGORITHMS WEEKLY BY PETR MITRICHEV


For other computer programming contests, you may visit the following external sites:


My "Work" Book

The Value of Work book

More Info & To Order

My "Programming" Book

FHSCC 1985-94 Book

More Info & To Order

Mother-in-Law's Book

Margaret Lovick's Book