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Subject: Re: MATLAB Contest Starts Tomorrow - November 6th
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Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 13:25:03 -0500
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> 
> <http://www.mathworks.com/contest>
> 
> These contests are a great way to learn new programming tricks, as
> well as show off the ones you have. If you are curious about past


While it is true that these contests are fun to watch, I doubt that
many "learn new programming tricks" from them. It is next to
impossible for outside observers (i.e., those who watch but don't
submit) to track changes in submitted code as the contest proceeds.
Since the submitted code does not use any or many comments and since
the code often uses cryptic single-letter variables, only those folks
who have the time and desire to win the contest take the time to
study what's been done by others and improve it.


I also doubt that the contests give folks the chance to "show off"
programming tricks either. Once again the code is so cryptic and
poorly documented that learning anything from it requires a
substantial investment in time and effort.


To me, the number one thing I learn from these contests is the
fundamental need to write good, readable, well-commented code.
Cryptic code may run a little faster, but overall productivity falls
to near zero as soon as someone says, "Can you modify this code
written by someone else to do _______?"