July 23, 2007

The air is on fire;
No leaf dares to move.
Degrees ascend higher;
Up and through the roof.

Bright Queen of the Solstice,
She wreaks steaming death.
The red flames contrast with
Parched meadows of Earth.

Escaping confinement,
Quicksilver expands.
Further redefining
The havoc it makes.

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The Torrent of Fire

July 22, 2007

It came as a pleasant surprise to me that the audio-book version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been released at the same time as the paper version. And the surprise was even greater when I saw it on The Pirate Bay — less than 48 hours after its publication! Gee, these guys know what they’re doing ;)


Problem of the Year

July 21, 2007

A couple of times I’ve been asked what my favorite CS/programming problem was. I didn’t have a solid answer to give. I’ve seen many interesting problems, many difficult ones, and nearly all of them original. But none of them really stood out, until today.

It’s called Joining Points, from the IOI2006. Here you can download the statement, solution and tests. I must admit I didn’t figure it out on my own — I read the solution. And it blew me away!

I was so impressed that after implementing it, I made a visualizer using the GD library. It has been surprisingly easy, despite being the first time I use such a library. You may see the source and the Makefile. Here’s what my solution produces for one of the test cases. Looks pretty astounding, if you ask me!

To install the GD library on a Debian-based system (in case you decide to compile):

sudo aptitude install libgd2-xpm-dev

Aluminiu şi Sticlă

July 15, 2007

Ce-mi faci îţi fac.
Ce-mi zici îţi zic.
Dacă taci, tac.
Dacă râzi, râd.

Zâmbeşti, zâmbesc
La fel de fals.
Mă vezi, trăiesc;
Te duci, sunt plat.

Lacrimi de foc
Nu pot decât
Distant şi mort
Să le reflect.

Din soare vin;
În noapte plec.
Fără de timp
În “azi” mă-înec.

BOI 2007 is Over

July 12, 2007

The Balkan Olympiad in Informatics, held in Chişinău this year, has officially closed today. The competition took place during 2 days, in which we were given 3 problems to solve in 5 hours.  I screwed up the first day, gaining a laughable 5 points out of 300. The second day was better, 130/300. This wasn’t enough to earn me a medal :(

The great prize went to Bulgaria, and two more gold medals were awarded to the Romanian team. Moldova has two bronze medals. A total of 36 contestants from 8 countries participated, Moldova having two teams, as the hosting country.

The tasks and solutions should be published on the official site, but since it’s made in Moldova, take this with a big grain of salt.