On the Road

February 22nd, 2007, 8:12 pm PST by Greg

I’m heading off to North Carolina momentarily. I’m just killing time until Oli and Tina (who graciously offered to give me a ride to the airport) get here. I’ll be down there until March 6: 12 days, including travel.

Sadly, I’m still going to be trying to work while I’m there. I’m hoping to actually do work on courses and pretend I’m not an administrator. I am committed to some work on a could of distance ed courses. I have been ignoring it because there’s always something else that’s more urgent. If I can get the CMPT 165 revisions done and a good chunk of the way on CMPT 120, I’ll be happy.

Other than that, I haven’t been blogging because there hasn’t been much interesting stuff to say.

It has been all admin all the time. The high school programming contest that I run is well underway. We hosted a pro-d day for some local IT teachers last Friday. All of the calendar changes for 2007/08 are off up the chain. The University has realized that departments other than computing and engineering will be needing students real soon, so all of a sudden “enrollment management” is a hot topic in the halls of power. The fallout from that last one promises to be a lot of fun for a long time.

I’m getting better at Grand Theft Auto, though.

My life is SO boring…

February 11th, 2007, 1:46 pm PST by Kat

These are the “highlights” of the past 2 weeks.

  1. I posted the pictures of the snow we had in January.
  2. I went to yoga and spin class. We had a substitute instructor in spin class. I literally almost died within the first 20 minutes. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. And, to make it worse, the only two bikes available were right in front. I survived the class, but I think if I see that sub again, I’m going to turn around and walk out of the gym. No need to tempt fate. Next time might actually be the time I keel over.
  3. I bought a rolling duffle bag! I’ve wanted one for a long time – you know, like a hockey bag, but with wheels at one end and a retractable handle at the other end. Anyways, it was the highlight of the day.
  4. I spent $40 on cabinet hardware for Suyoko. Restoration Hardware was having a inventory clearance sale. It was a challenge to find matching stuff, but I was able to find Suyoko 20 of 1 kind, 10 of another, and 8 of another. Ah… the thrill of the shopping hunt…
  5. I got one of my manuscripts accepted last week and sent in the proofs for another one. 2 down, too many to go…
  6. I couldnt’ go out to dinner on Friday night with my friends because I had a stomach ache – probably brought on by a bad lunch choice.
  7. I bought cake at the grocery store yesterday.

It’s official. I have the most boring life ever.

Luckily next week life starts to get exciting. Suyoko and Kelly fly in on Monday, Feb 19 for BBQfest 2007! Then Greg flies in on Friday, Feb 23. Just have to hang on until then!

Total failure avoided

February 4th, 2007, 12:49 am PST by Greg

Brief background: The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) sponsors an annual worldwide programming contest. The contest format is 5+ problems, generally all tricky algorithmic problems, solve ’em, GO! Teams with more problems correctly completed in the given time win; ties are broken by penalty points (incorrect submissions and time taken to complete problems).

Brad (our coach) and the UBC coach often organize a spring warmup/practice/fun contest for our students. For the last two years, Ted Kirkpatrick and I have entered as a team.

Competing against students can go one of two general ways:

  1. Oh ha ha, you’re better at DDR than me.
  2. This contest seems to involve logic/reasoning/intelligence: exactly the stuff I’m supposed to be better at than my students so I can teach them. Failure is not an option.

ACM-like contests are distinctly in the second category.

This presents an interesting challenge. Primarily, the students who are into the ACM contest are really into it and are quite good. Ted and I spend a lot more time writing lecture notes than programs.

Last year, we finished below the really competitive teams, and above the rest of the students. That’s the best we could have hoped for, really.

This year’s contest was today. Once again, two SFU teams bested us, completing 4/6 problems. We completed 3/6.

I cost us 20 minutes debugging a stupid mistake in fraction arithmetic. If not for that, we definitely would have finished a fourth problem (but not changed our ranking because of penalty points).

I’m more annoyed at another problem that neither Ted or I saw how to do. All you had to do was tilt your head the right way and say “Oh, it’s graph theory. I’ll just look up the formula and type it in.” Me and my undergrad in math and masters in graph-theoretic network algorithms didn’t notice that.

I hope Art doesn’t find out. Anyway, we should have had 4/6 and if I had really been on top of my game, it might have been 5/6. [shakes fist]