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Re^6: Perl Golf Ethics

by petdance (Parson)
on Jan 04, 2007 at 15:07 UTC ( #592960=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^5: Perl Golf Ethics
in thread Perl Golf Ethics

I'm not saying that I couldn't have done better. I'm saying that the key to actually winning was happening to know that there was a secret.


Comment on Re^6: Perl Golf Ethics
Re^7: Perl Golf Ethics
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon) on Jan 04, 2007 at 21:34 UTC

    the key to actually winning was happening to know that there was a secret
    It wasn't a secret to the winner. ;-) So I think justice was served there. And who can prove that Ton's magic formula is the final word? It's just possible someone might have invented a more magical formula than Ton and out-Ton-ed Ton. I know I tried. :-) (Update: it turns out a more magical formula was indeed available.)

    Seriously though, I agree with you that it was unfortunate that fonality chose a problem where knowing of a previous similar golf gave a significant advantage. They didn't do it on purpose and I'm sure if they'd have known, they would have set a different problem. Having said that, I still enjoyed golfing on the non-magic-formula parts of the problem and found that to be challenging-in-the-extreme ... to the point of melting my brain at times. :-)

      Having said that, I still enjoyed golfing on the non-magic-formula parts of the problem and found that to be challenging-in-the-extreme ... to the point of melting my brain at times. :-)

      Me too, and that's why finding out that there was a magic key was so bothersome to me. I DID have fun, and I DID work on it, and to find that I started out at a distinct disadvantage from the start is the pisser.

      I agree with you that it was unfortunate that fonality chose a problem where knowing of a previous similar golf gave a significant advantage.

      So perhaps my concerns aren't "rubbish", eh?

        I DID have fun
        Agree
        I DID work on it
        Agree again
        to find that I started out at a distinct disadvantage from the start is the pisser
        Now this is where we diverge. Like Jasper and `/anick, had this happened to me, I would see the funny side of it, laugh at myself, shake my fist in the general direction of the person one stroke ahead of me on the leaderboard and swear to get even next time. :-) It's only a game after all.

        So perhaps my concerns aren't "rubbish", eh?
        What I said "rubbish" to was your assertion that the competition was essentially a test of knowledge of ancient romanic magical formulae and not a test of cleverness and coding skill. I found that claim to be insulting to all the golfers who worked so hard and so deviously to shave off just one more stroke. Now, if you are suggesting that, armed with Ton's magical romanic formula, you could have somehow swept majestically past the Golfic Emporer Tonius Hospelius to claim the $350 bounty, I will happily walk down the main street of Chicago in my underwear, swinging a five iron, shouting "That Lester guy is talking rubbish again!". :-)

        to find that I started out at a distinct disadvantage from the start is the pisser
        Luckily, this disadvantage is unlikely to have affected your final position at all since none of the players in your section of the leaderboard used the magic formula.

        I've gone through every solution in the top 30, noting who used the magic formula and who didn't. Those who used it had scores of: 99, 102, 107, 111, 114, 118, 119, 122, 129, 135, 143.

        For the sake of analysis, let's assume the tournament was played with a rule that forbade the use of any magic formulas. As Ton has already pointed out, not knowing the magic formula costs an expert golfer no more than about five strokes. So you might add a five stroke penalty to all those scores above. However, not all those golfers are experts (though most are), so let's be brutal and penalize them all by forty strokes. Doing that pushes the worst of the scores above up to 183, still three strokes ahead of your score. So it seems unlikely your position in the tournament would have changed at all had the playing field been more level.

        Oh, one more minor nit, since you are so hot on level playing fields. I noticed towards the end that you joined forces with another competitor. Do you think it fair, or a "level playing field", for an individual to compete against a team of two, who are able to pool the best of each other's ideas?

Re^7: Perl Golf Ethics
by thospel (Hermit) on Jan 06, 2007 at 15:55 UTC
    No actually. There was a second way of winning: make up your own secret. Nothing stops anyone from thinking of the magic formula for himself. It's also perfectly possible there is an even better way to go from number to roman that nobody discovered yet.

    And if a person would also have found the magic formula if he hadn't known the existing one, I don't think you can say he got an unfair advantage from it. I know I would have found it, and Juho might or might not have, but at least he has come up with magic formulas before. And third place was easily possible without the magic formula.

    And let's be very clear that all this was an accident. When making up golf challenges, one tries very hard to come up with new ones where old golfs cannot be reused. Nobody wants a perl golf where the real work consists of searching the web instead of programming.

      Nobody wants a perl golf where the real work consists of searching the web instead of programming.

      Which was my entire point from the beginning.

      xoxo,
      Andy

        Andy, As one of the fellow spongs who didn't look for or find the magic formula, I feel I might be in a better position to commiserate. I've been playing at this perl golf for several years now, and sure, I've learned some tricks along the way. But mostly I play to the level of my abilities. If I come up with a good algorithm, I usually do well. In this case I did OK. In other contests I've done very badly.

        I've taken a peek at your final answer, and it is short. There is nothing that strikes me as obvious as to where you can remove characters. Therefore, and I think this is the important bit, it's a bad algorithm.

        I haven't had the time to look through all your solutions, from your first entry to the last one, but how many different algorithms did you try? Me, I tried it four or five different ways until I stumbled upon one that seemed shorter. Heck, I thought I was a freaking genius when I thought of y/IVXLC/XLCDM/ for multiply by ten. And having spent some time post-mortem with Ton's magic formula, I believe that I'd have only saved 3, maybe 4 (at a stretch) characters with it. The other parts of Ton's (and everyone who beat me) winning entry were the majority of the difference between him and me.

        Of all the entries that beat you into 28th place, how many used the magic formula? Not as many as you seem to think. There are certainly a number of 'in the know' people (Yanick, Michael Wrenn, tybalt89, Honza - me!) who didn't use/find the magic formula. There are also people (experienced golfers, too) who did use it and didn't get within 40 characters of Ton.

        Take a step back and think about how you sound by suggesting that your final position is far away from where you would have finished. Because it's probably not true.

        Jasper

        p.s. sorry this is waaaay late in the day - someone only just pointed out this thread to me - perhaps if I'd kept an eye on perlmonks, I'd have done far better!

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