Tag → bar-graphs

College Emails

(Frivolous blog content, posted as part of a daily posting streak I have openly committed to; standard disclaimers apply)

Out of boredom and curiosity, I graphed how many emails colleges sent me, excluding the colleges I actually applied to. I am being extremely polite and just calling them emails. I’ve wanted to make this for a long time, but it wasn’t until I saw this post about an email experiment on waxy.org/links that I understood which tools I could use to quantify my emails. (And then I actually made it and procrastinated posting it here for two months. If you look at my GitHub page or activity you might have seen it already, though. Oops.)

I don’t think the results were expected. Other than saying that, I leave the interpretation up to the reader because I’m on a tight blogging schedule. Cool? Cool.

Rise from the Ashes

After the first stage of selection camp, I was very nervous because I was fifth place in a selection sequence that would finally result in a team of four.

I screwed myself over on the first mock test by committing to a bad implementation method on a problem that was hard to get points on. My method seemed simple, but the memory usage leaked out in a way that was confusing and hard to patch; unfortunately, I tried to patch it in increasingly desperate and convoluted ways rather than scrapping the method, and thus missed out on many of the points elsewhere.

During the second test I failed to read the last problem carefully and spent too much of my time on the second problem, once again missing out on a lot of relatively easy points. I had optimized and optimized and pushed my quadratic runtime down to linearithmic, which would allow me to get the points for the last subtask — or so I thought. But with 10 minutes left I had all but one testcase right, and after desperately rereading my code, I realized that I had a string comparison stuck in an inner loop that could make my runtime degenerate to quadratic if the input string had lots of the same digit. In order to have a solidly linearithmic algorithm, I would have to implement a suffix array. Ten minutes? I gave up. (The problem setters told me afterwards that hashing would have worked too; I didn’t think of that at all. Oops.) I spent the 10 minutes reading the last problem and still failed to read it carefully. So that did not go very well.

But, as the title probably gave away, during the third and fourth mock tests everything went much better than expected. :) There are two good reasons: