Darkness 2006-11-29 09:00:00 UTC
Twilight 2006-11-30 09:00:00 UTC
Daylight 2006-12-01 09:00:00 UTC
Finish 2006-12-06 09:00:00 UTC

Blackbox - Statistics

This page was generated on 22-Dec-2006 at 1:33 PM.


This is a listing the top 10 contestants in the Generality contest.

#1Alfonso Nieto-Castanongenerality b&o 03637.320
#2Alan Chalkergenerality try 11679.122
#3JamesGenerality - 1 edge755.092
#4Anders Skjälgenerality is better3789.982
#6jhogggenerality is good819.421
#7David Jonesgenerality better961.145
#8Gerbert MyburghBLTUNC generality1653.741
#9Steve Hoelzertrythis30 - generality3183.907
#10Johan So much todo in generality 25191.440


This listing shows how much each entry that took the lead on Tuesday improved on the previous top score.

changetimetitle, author
3.374823:51Persistence pays off, Alan Chalker
0.507319:54OneMoreCat, SY
0.201003:05Old School, Anders Skjäl
0.083018:59Test-6, DreadNox
0.042413:43Test-3 (Good), DreadNox
0.014323:55Tuesday Leap over the Cat +20, David Jones
0.013018:04Leap for Joy !!!!, David Jones
0.004000:44Tuesday skip, David Jones
0.002018:04Leap for Joy !!!!!, David Jones
0.000104:09markus7a, Markus

1000 Character Challenge

These are the best entries submitted before 10PM EDT on Monday that are less than 1000 characters in length.

 scoreresulttimedatelengthtitle, author
#1 143.61 14361.2 7.80 Mon 21:55 846s&d04, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#2 145.33 14532.7 7.75 Mon 21:55 846s&d02, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#3 145.99 14598.4 7.73 Mon 21:56 846s&d06, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#4 146.52 14652.2 7.74 Mon 21:54 846s&d01, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#5 147.01 14700.6 7.79 Mon 21:59 847s&d10, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#6 147.17 14716.9 7.72 Mon 21:57 846s&d07, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#7 147.21 14721.0 7.71 Mon 21:58 846s&d08, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#8 149.19 14918.3 7.73 Mon 21:56 846s&d05, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#9 149.63 14962.8 7.63 Mon 21:55 846s&d03, Alfonso Nieto-Castanon
#10 149.91 14990.8 8.09 Mon 21:57 996speed up????, Alan Chalker
#11 149.91 14990.8 8.02 Mon 21:57 968A Few Lines and a Litttle Bit of Black Magic !!!!, David Jones
#12 149.91 14990.8 8.17 Mon 21:55 990Just barely, Alan Chalker
#13 149.91 14990.8 8.20 Mon 21:56 990Add some back..., Alan Chalker
#14 149.91 14990.8 8.12 Mon 21:56 971Four Lines and a Litttle Bit of Black Magic !, David Jones
#15 149.91 14990.8 8.23 Mon 21:58 998At the limit, Alan Chalker
#16 150.32 15032.2 8.04 Mon 21:02 944Concise Blackness, David Jones
#17 150.32 15032.2 8.09 Mon 21:19 945Short Enough and Fast Enough, David Jones
#18 150.32 15032.2 8.07 Mon 21:58 946Deal with the blackness, the cyclist
#19 150.32 15032.2 8.07 Mon 21:58 948Deal with the blackness again, the cyclist
#20 150.32 15032.2 8.10 Mon 20:56 953JL based, YC
#21 150.32 15032.2 8.10 Mon 21:05 944Conciser Blackness, David Jones
#22 150.32 15032.2 8.11 Mon 21:05 944Concisely Blackened, David Jones
#23 150.32 15032.2 8.15 Mon 21:06 944Concisely Blacker, David Jones
#24 150.32 15032.2 8.17 Mon 21:06 944Concisely Blackening, David Jones
#25 150.32 15032.2 8.14 Mon 21:06 944Short and Black, David Jones

Best Per Phase

The top 25 contestant's best entry in each phase.

Top contestants during darkness

1Cobus PotgieterThu 11:3314114145.38
2Uwe DammThu 10:2114314302.18
3Nick HoweThu 10:1314514511.719
4Leo ComeWed 20:1619119146.58
5MarcãoWed 21:4719319347.29
6Bao LeiThu 11:4919819776.610
7Gerbert MyburghThu 11:1228228149.516
8Alan ChalkerThu 11:5340840776.19
9Jim MikolaWed 17:5693893767.05
10Steve HoelzerThu 09:5194694637.27
11Rick St.PierreThu 11:3996896818.05
12MarkusThu 11:1297497350.28
13Matt McDonaldWed 17:1399199087.05
14Stijn HelsenThu 10:111036103594.05
15Klaas HartmannThu 03:391038103761.56
16Doug HullWed 17:501052105207.85
17Weasel BoyWed 15:421072107202.55
18PUWed 13:411084108392.05
19website.ngWed 12:521085108491.85
20Adee RanThu 04:161087108656.06
21Jan LangerThu 04:391087108699.18
22YCThu 11:421098109790.34
23srachThu 03:551102110229.74
24MaurosThu 08:391104110363.76
25Mike BindschadlerWed 18:361150114997.54

Top contestants during twilight

1Per RutquistFri 11:2912912887.58
2Rick St.PierreFri 11:4813513477.39
3Cobus PotgieterFri 08:5013613576.08
4Nick HoweThu 14:3414314345.119
5Alfonso NietoFri 11:5815015012.68
6Bao LeiFri 11:4515415371.310
7SYFri 11:2215515475.510
8Claus StillFri 11:4816016049.39
9JxGFri 08:2016416423.89
10Steve HoelzerThu 19:1317117097.79
11MarcãoFri 11:5817817781.39
12Anders SkjälThu 16:2218218214.88
13talFri 05:2818518547.38
14Leo ComeThu 14:3318818827.58
15Gerbert MyburghFri 11:3918918933.410
16wouter cloeteFri 10:0621421428.99
17TrackerFri 11:4722822816.78
18Jake QuicksallThu 18:5124824772.88
19TestingFri 03:3446446037.666
20Magnus & ErikFri 10:2747046949.840
21GreenThu 14:3652752679.78
22Gareth ThomasFri 07:4980780724.917
23srachFri 06:4685885805.37
24Jim MikolaThu 12:0893893814.05
25JamesFri 11:1594494377.06

Contributions in Daylight

This listing shows how much each contestant improved on the top score over the course of the day.


0.433Stijn Helsen
0.29512:40catch-up 21 and Aargh :-)
0.061Anders Skjäl
0.06021:17But what does it do?
0.00121:53And this one? 90
0.022Mike Bindschadler
0.02205:36A few fewer beams
0.013David Jones
0.00823:35coding in the dark 60
0.00111:36black cat 90
0.00111:48black cat 90 intuits
0.00311:48black cat 90 perceives
0.002David Joned
0.00122:57black voodoo magic
0.00123:06darker than black
0.00023:06darker than all
0.000the cyclist
0.00008:51Let's make a deal


0.042AliReza KashaniPour
0.022Mike Bindschadler
0.02205:36A few fewer beams
0.005David Jones
0.00111:36black cat 90
0.00111:48black cat 90 intuits
0.00311:48black cat 90 perceives
0.00012:31black jack 100
0.00017:02black magic 100
0.000the cyclist
0.00008:51Let's make a deal
0.00020:54Not done


1.529Jan Langer
0.07500:12der schwabke is noch off
1.209Per Rutquist
0.489David Jones
0.00013:09Black Attack 42
0.05314:45black art random
0.04214:52black random art ..
0.10817:51Black Guess 3
0.04418:36Lightning Bolt !!
0.06218:42Lightning strikes again 6
0.18020:15Joy of Discovery !
0.152Anders Skjäl
0.058Claus Still
0.001Alan Chalker
0.00013:15This is the end
0.00013:25The only end
0.00115:40Taco Grande
0.000the cyclist
0.00008:17Before Jones 2
0.000Green Herring
0.00015:38green herring 1
0.00014:18Johny Be Good 0.1^2
0.000AliReza KashaniPour


0.073The stig
0.044David Jones
0.00916:57Joy of Discovery -10
0.03122:55Darkening and Lightening !
0.00422:56Darkening and Lightening ! ! !
0.003AliReza KashaniPour
0.000Matt McDonald
0.00013:53Joy Division of Laura Lee


3.375Alan Chalker
3.37523:51Persistence pays off
0.201Anders Skjäl
0.20103:05Old School
0.04213:43Test-3 (Good)
0.033David Jones
0.00400:44Tuesday skip
0.01318:04Leap for Joy !!!!
0.00218:04Leap for Joy !!!!!
0.01423:55Tuesday Leap over the Cat +20


2.851Alan Chalker
0.00013:14generality try 1
1.39016:56The real end!
1.46116:57End of it all
0.25812:09Cat Got The Turkey
0.205David Jones
0.20516:55sweet generality
0.001Jan Langer
0.00010:38Giant Naked Turkey
0.00009:27immer hin
0.000AliReza KashaniPour
0.00012:23i'm so bad too

Best Result

These are the first entries to break through each result barrier, ignoring time.

resulttimecputitle, author
126592.7Wed 09:005.51Sample Entry, MATLAB Contest Team
126394.0Wed 09:342.55Snakes on a Plane, snake
108595.2Wed 10:015.14That's a bit better..., Nick Howe
19760.8Wed 12:288.95Decimator, Nick Howe
18211.7Wed 14:169.07Decimator2, Nick Howe
15876.1Thu 03:329.53Not-so-early bird, Cobus Potgieter
15559.2Thu 04:5516.33CloseShave, Nick Howe
15160.6Thu 05:4516.88SqueezePlay, Nick Howe
15153.9Thu 06:0316.78MyMainSqueeze, Nick Howe
14974.1Thu 07:018.91Haste made waste, Cobus Potgieter
14674.0Thu 09:2919.16ProbeMiser, Nick Howe
14411.5Thu 09:358.43Haste made waste2, Cobus Potgieter
14302.1Thu 10:218.25give it a try, Uwe Damm
14232.7Thu 10:568.45On its head 2, Cobus Potgieter
14145.3Thu 11:338.40On its head 3, Cobus Potgieter
13721.3Thu 12:107.39Aargh, Per Rutquist
13700.9Fri 03:248.32Catch-up 4, Cobus Potgieter
13268.0Fri 05:567.67Aargh v2, Per Rutquist
13090.8Fri 05:587.60Aargh v2b, Per Rutquist
13024.9Fri 06:287.87Aargh v2c, Per Rutquist
12887.5Fri 11:297.83Aargh :-), Per Rutquist
12858.0Fri 12:407.94catch-up 21 and Aargh :-), Marcão
12814.7Fri 14:039.35catchup21AARGH_Beamlog, Stijn Helsen
12808.7Fri 21:178.74But what does it do?, Anders Skjäl
12808.6Fri 21:538.54And this one? 90, Anders Skjäl
12808.5Fri 22:578.66black voodoo magic, David Joned
12808.4Fri 23:068.69darker than black, David Joned
12807.6Fri 23:358.60coding in the dark 60, David Jones
12805.4Sat 05:368.70A few fewer beams, Mike Bindschadler
12783.3Sat 11:2812.45FatCat20, SY
12783.2Sat 11:3612.29black cat 90, David Jones
12783.1Sat 11:4812.32black cat 90 intuits, David Jones
12782.8Sat 11:4812.44black cat 90 perceives, David Jones
12780.6Sat 12:2612.76beta1, AliReza KashaniPour
12778.6Sat 16:3712.75testaf, AliReza KashaniPour
12778.5Sat 19:2212.69cut17, Gtsirog
12771.0Sun 00:1212.63der schwabke is noch off, Jan Langer
12766.2Sun 04:2812.76outlet2, YC
12645.3Sun 05:2312.83R, Per Rutquist
12630.1Sun 09:1012.81Order!!, Anders Skjäl
12624.3Sun 10:1612.51cheap_smallmod, Claus Still
12624.0Sun 14:1311.99case4, YC
12622.6Sun 14:1411.84case6, YC
12621.8Sun 14:1411.97case7, YC
12476.4Sun 14:3112.04dampfhammer, Jan Langer
12471.1Sun 14:4512.11black art random, David Jones
12466.9Sun 14:5212.09black random art .., David Jones
12456.1Sun 17:5110.49Black Guess 3, David Jones
12451.0Sun 18:0610.29keeper, YC
12446.6Sun 18:3610.50Lightning Bolt !!, David Jones
12440.4Sun 18:4210.43Lightning strikes again 6, David Jones
12422.4Sun 20:1510.34Joy of Discovery !, David Jones
12421.5Mon 16:5710.24Joy of Discovery -10, David Jones
12414.2Mon 18:0610.53Thestig101, The stig
12413.9Mon 18:1310.47w3.54, AliReza KashaniPour
12410.8Mon 22:5510.63Darkening and Lightening !, David Jones
12410.4Mon 22:5610.55Darkening and Lightening ! ! !, David Jones
12410.0Tue 00:4410.51Tuesday skip, David Jones
12389.9Tue 03:0510.52Old School, Anders Skjäl
12385.5Tue 13:4313.17Test-3 (Good), DreadNox
12384.2Tue 18:0413.11Leap for Joy !!!!, David Jones
12384.0Tue 18:0413.16Leap for Joy !!!!!, David Jones
12375.7Tue 18:5913.18Test-6, DreadNox
12325.0Tue 19:5412.78OneMoreCat, SY
11987.5Tue 23:5112.98Persistence pays off, Alan Chalker
11986.1Tue 23:5512.55Tuesday Leap over the Cat +20, David Jones
11986.0Wed 07:3412.96hinein^21, Jan Langer
11984.7Wed 09:2912.84OldCatStillCanJump, SY
11958.9Wed 12:0912.92Cat Got The Turkey, JHogg
11958.7Wed 12:3412.65CatHasSevenLives, SY
11938.2Wed 16:5512.58sweet generality, David Jones
11799.2Wed 16:5612.75The real end!, Alan Chalker
11653.1Wed 16:5712.54End of it all, Alan Chalker

All the Leaders

Here is a chronological list of the entries that held the number one spot, listed with the date submitted, the percent improvement in score, and the length of time each spent on top.

contestanttitledate% imphours
1MATLAB Contest TeamSample EntryWed 09:00Inf%0.57
2snakeSnakes on a PlaneWed 09:340.16%0.45
3Nick HoweThat's a bit better...Wed 10:0114.08%2.46
4Nick HoweDecimatorWed 12:2881.80%1.79
5Nick HoweDecimator2Wed 14:167.84%13.27
6Cobus PotgieterNot-so-early birdThu 03:3212.82%1.38
7Nick HoweCloseShaveThu 04:551.99%0.84
8Nick HoweSqueezePlayThu 05:452.56%0.30
9Nick HoweMyMainSqueezeThu 06:030.04%0.97
10Cobus PotgieterHaste made wasteThu 07:011.19%2.47
11Nick HoweProbeMiserThu 09:292.00%0.09
12Cobus PotgieterHaste made waste2Thu 09:351.79%0.77
13Uwe Dammgive it a tryThu 10:210.76%0.59
14Cobus PotgieterOn its head 2Thu 10:560.49%0.62
15Cobus PotgieterOn its head 3Thu 11:330.61%0.60
16Per RutquistAarghThu 12:103.00%15.24
17Cobus PotgieterCatch-up 4Fri 03:240.15%2.52
18Per RutquistAargh v2Fri 05:563.16%0.05
19Per RutquistAargh v2bFri 05:581.34%0.50
20Per RutquistAargh v2cFri 06:280.50%5.01
21Per RutquistAargh :-)Fri 11:291.05%0.64
22the cyclistPerrierFri 12:070.00%0.54
23Marcãocatch-up 21 and Aargh :-)Fri 12:400.23%1.38
24Stijn Helsencatchup21AARGH_BeamlogFri 14:030.34%0.94
25Stijn Helsencatchup21AARGH_Beamlog_litcorFri 14:590.00%6.29
26Anders SkjälBut what does it do?Fri 21:170.05%0.61
27Anders SkjälAnd this one? 90Fri 21:530.00%1.06
28David Jonedblack voodoo magicFri 22:570.00%0.15
29David Joneddarker than blackFri 23:060.00%0.00
30David Joneddarker than allFri 23:060.00%0.48
31David Jonescoding in the dark 60Fri 23:350.01%6.02
32Mike BindschadlerA few fewer beamsSat 05:360.02%3.25
33the cyclistLet's make a dealSat 08:510.00%2.62
34SYFatCat20Sat 11:280.17%0.13
35David Jonesblack cat 90Sat 11:360.00%0.20
36David Jonesblack cat 90 intuitsSat 11:480.00%0.00
37David Jonesblack cat 90 perceivesSat 11:480.00%0.62
38AliReza KashaniPourbeta1Sat 12:260.02%0.09
39David Jonesblack jack 100Sat 12:310.00%4.09
40AliReza KashaniPourtestafSat 16:370.02%0.42
41David Jonesblack magic 100Sat 17:020.00%2.33
42Gtsirogcut17Sat 19:220.00%1.53
43the cyclistNot doneSat 20:540.00%3.31
44Jan Langerder schwabke is noch offSun 00:120.06%4.26
45YCoutlet2Sun 04:280.04%0.93
46Per RutquistRSun 05:230.95%2.90
47the cyclistBefore Jones 2Sun 08:170.00%0.88
48Anders SkjälOrder!!Sun 09:100.12%0.81
49LemkecheapSun 09:590.00%0.28
50Claus Stillcheap_smallmodSun 10:160.05%2.88
51David JonesBlack Attack 42Sun 13:090.00%0.10
52Alan ChalkerThis is the endSun 13:150.00%0.17
53Alan ChalkerThe only endSun 13:250.00%0.80
54YCcase4Sun 14:130.00%0.02
55YCcase6Sun 14:140.01%0.01
56YCcase7Sun 14:140.01%0.06
57DaysenJohny Be Good 0.1^2Sun 14:180.00%0.20
58Jan LangerdampfhammerSun 14:311.15%0.25
59David Jonesblack art randomSun 14:450.04%0.11
60David Jonesblack random art ..Sun 14:520.03%0.77
61Green Herringgreen herring 1Sun 15:380.00%0.03
62Alan ChalkerTaco GrandeSun 15:400.00%2.18
63David JonesBlack Guess 3Sun 17:510.09%0.26
64YCkeeperSun 18:060.04%0.49
65David JonesLightning Bolt !!Sun 18:360.04%0.10
66David JonesLightning strikes again 6Sun 18:420.05%0.70
67AliReza KashaniPourshayad2Sun 19:240.00%0.86
68David JonesJoy of Discovery !Sun 20:150.14%17.63
69Matt McDonaldJoy Division of Laura LeeMon 13:530.00%3.07
70David JonesJoy of Discovery -10Mon 16:570.01%0.68
71AliReza KashaniPourw3.3Mon 17:380.00%0.47
72The stigThestig101Mon 18:060.06%0.12
73AliReza KashaniPourw3.54Mon 18:130.00%4.71
74David JonesDarkening and Lightening !Mon 22:550.02%0.01
75David JonesDarkening and Lightening ! ! !Mon 22:560.00%1.79
76David JonesTuesday skipTue 00:440.00%2.36
77Anders SkjälOld SchoolTue 03:050.16%1.07
78Markusmarkus7aTue 04:090.00%9.56
79DreadNoxTest-3 (Good)Tue 13:430.03%4.35
80David JonesLeap for Joy !!!!Tue 18:040.01%0.00
81David JonesLeap for Joy !!!!!Tue 18:040.00%0.91
82DreadNoxTest-6Tue 18:590.07%0.93
83SYOneMoreCatTue 19:540.41%3.95
84Alan ChalkerPersistence pays offTue 23:512.74%0.08
85David JonesTuesday Leap over the Cat +20Tue 23:550.01%7.64
86Jan Langerhinein^21Wed 07:340.00%1.89
87KSzimmer hinWed 09:270.00%0.03
88SYOldCatStillCanJumpWed 09:290.01%1.14
89DarrenGiant Naked TurkeyWed 10:380.00%1.52
90JHoggCat Got The TurkeyWed 12:090.22%0.24
91AliReza KashaniPouri'm so bad tooWed 12:230.00%0.18
92SYCatHasSevenLivesWed 12:340.00%0.66
93Alan Chalkergenerality try 1Wed 13:140.00%3.68
94David Jonessweet generalityWed 16:550.17%0.02
95Alan ChalkerThe real end!Wed 16:561.16%0.02
96Alan ChalkerEnd of it allWed 16:571.24%337.28


This is the most useful diagram for visualizing the contest. It shows the dramatic improvements that occur over time. Each passing entry is a dot, with its submission time on the x-axis and it's score on the y-axis. Since a lower score is better, the dots push down further as time goes on. All entries that took the lead are colored red and the red lines marks the best score at any time. The sample entry is the leftmost red dot and the leader is the last red dot in the lower right.

Some of the leading entries are circled and labeled with the author's name. They show who was making the biggest improvements in score (represented in this plot as a vertical drop in the red line) at any point in the contest.

The improvement in score happens over a huge dynamic range. Early in the contest, it is easy to make big improvements in the score. As the algorithms get better, improvements become increasingly difficult. To show this, we normalize the scores so the best (smallest) score is 1 and the worst score is some power of 10. Then we plot them on a logarithmic scale. This exaggerates the improvements at the end of the contest. By increasing the number of decades we spread the scores over, we increasingly exaggerate the smaller improvements made at the end of the contest.

results vs. cpu time

One of the interesting aspects of the contest is that entries needed to minimize two things at once. Getting the best possible answer must be weighed against the time an entry takes to run. The entry's score is a combination of these two factors. Plotting these two against each other yields a very different picture of the contest.

The leader line is shown in red again in this picture. The gray contours show lines of constant score. In general, the best score is somewhere along the lower-left frontier of shortest time and lowest results. Algorithmic improvements tend to move down and to the right, and they are followed by tweaking battles in which the new algorithm claws its way back down the time axis.

Submissions Over Time

This area plot shows how the total number of entries grows. The green area represents the entries that passed the test suite, and the red area shows those that failed.

Activity by Hour

Each bar represents an hour's worth of entries. The contest has three major phases. The first day is in "darkness", where contestants can submit entries but they can't see any of the entries or their scores. To win this phase, an entry must be general and robust. The second day is "twilight", where we show the scores but not yet the code. This allows contestants to develop their algorithm without anyone else being able to leverage their ideas.

On the histogram, the darkness and twilight phases are the two boxes on the left. The other boxes and vertical gray lines call out other mid-contest challenges.

Participants per Day

We know that one participant may submit hundreds of entries. Let's look at the number of unique participants on each day of the contest.

Most active participants

This bar plot shows the number of entries submitted by our most prolific authors.

Entry length

This plot shows how many characters of code are in each of the leading entries. In regions where you see entries of more or less the same length there are very few differences from one entry to the next. In other places you can see the code getting shorter or longer. The density of the lines also shows how often the lead is changing. It's most impressive when shorter code takes the top spot, either by pruning unneeded computation or by introducing new algorithms. The red line at the top shows the cap on entry length.

Percent improvement

This is a plot of the percent improvement generated by each new leader relative to the previous leader. This lets us see who is responsible for the biggest changes over the contest. The upper frontier of this plot is a sort of hall of fame, and someone whose name appears there more than once managed to make several significant improvements to the score.

Improvements by day

Highlighting all the entries submitted on each day in red shows shows how the overall progression down and to the left. A black circle indicates the leader at the end of each day.


Submitting an entry by using the "edit" button on an existing entry marks the new entry as a child of the first. Tracing each entry back from parent to parent identifies its oldest ancestor. All the entries that have the same oldest ancestor are in the same "clan". This plot draws lines between each child and its parent and colors the six largest clans. Entries in the same clan that don't have a line between them are connected by an entry that didn't pass (so it doesn't have a score to plot).