Friday, August 29, 2008

Optimizing the conversion of numbers to strings and vise-versa

Read this interesting article to see how the guys at Mainsoft optimized the conversion of numbers to strings and vise-versa by more than 2.6x. Their goal was to leverage the performance of text-based internet protocol implementations such as XML and HTML.

The article also introduces a valuable comparison to conversion algorithms in .Net. Java. It's a good reminder for all of us to keep looking for improvements and stop taking things for granted. The source code is available too.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

TopCoder & KawigiEdit

Yesterday, I was on an SRM on TopCoder… It is more than one year long since the preceding SRM… I just got the notification email of the SRM, I remembered the past days of Algorithm Competitions and thought… Why do not I participate? It’s Saturday and I am free :-)

15 Minutes before the coding, I’ve no ready environment!! But my friend Ahmed Mounir could help… He sent me an Editor Plug-in for TopCoder’s Arena and the instructions to install it…

That was about me!! So what about TopCoder and KawigiEdit?! Just go on…

TopCoder is a web site providing online algorithm competitions. You compete with people all over the world on time based competitions to solve some problems. It gets you experience and improve your coding skills and the way you think. TopCoder’s Arena is the place where you code, register, challenge and compete with other people on SRMs.

Not only Time Based Algorithm Competitions (known as SRM “Single Round Match”), but also Design and Software Development and Assembly competitions exist. But I only tried the Algorithm competitions. You can get more info from “Just do it & Hit the link :-)”

Okay, as you still patient till this line :-D … let’s move to KawigiEdit…

KawigiEdit is an Editor installed as a Plug-in on TopCoder’s Arena. It has more features and more helpful than the standard editor of the Arena. It comes with templates that generate the structure of your code… You will need to fill in the implementation of the required function. It can also run the test cases for you. You may also save the file locally & access it using another IDE… I did so to use my more friendly IDE, Eclipse…

This is the link to download the Editor… and another for the documentation. Kawigi’s main page is here… As a quick guidance, download the editor, and do the instructions under “Installing KawigiEdit” in the documentation.

Want my advice? Give TopCoder competitions a try… You will never regret –In Shaa’ Allah- Yesterday, Egypt was ranked 30 over the world… Today, I found it in the 29th place. And there are a little more than 150 members from Egypt… You can make it better, Can you?