News about Dyalog

Aug 10, 2017

2017 APL Programming Contest Winners

The 9th annual global programming contest winners were announced on 1 August 2017. Read about their experiences with APL and find out a bit more about them in their own words below.

Phase I of this year's contest had the familiar format of 10 one-line solutions, with 15 participation prizes being awarded to the submissions judged to make the best use of APL. Phase II took was split into three categories, with a single grand prize winner, second place, third place and non-student winner. The questions for each phase can be downloaded so that you can see what they tackled.


The Grand Prize Winner is Kostas Blekos of the Panepistimion Patron in Greece. He receives a cash prize of $2,500 USD and an invitation to present his winning work at Dyalog '17 in Denmark.

"I'm studying physics at University of Patras. I'm a few weeks away from presenting my PhD thesis. "Mastering Dyalog APL" was a great resource for learning APL. I enjoyed reading it and, by the way, hope to find some time to study it more. I found the "primer" on very useful as a guideline. I usually started there before turning to "Mastering Dyalog APL" for details. Of course, the most exciting thing about APL is its terseness. The degree of compactification of programming expressions is mind boggling. This, along with the great selection of primitives, brings my programming experience much closer to pure mathematical thinking. On a different level, I found using the IDE an interesting experience. From a scale 0 - 100 I feel I went from 20 to 50. I did learn and discover a **lot** of things about APL during the contest."





The second place winner is Douglas Patz who attends the Agile Learning Center in New York City, USA. He receives a cash prize of $1,250 USD.

"I am 12 years old and entering 7th grade. My father taught me APL last year. I did not have enough time to enter the competition then, but this year I had time to do it. I always found the syntax of other languages confusing. APL has a pretty easy to understand and logical syntax. It feels very mathematical, and I really enjoy math. I spent a long time working on the problems and I think it really helped me understand the APL mindset."




The third place winner is Zachary Taylor who attends Maryville High School in the USA. He receives a cash prize of $750 USD.

"I am 16 years old and currently a junior at Maryville High School. At our school, programming in general barely exists, the only "Computer Science" class is the easiest thing ever. So, this was a welcome change of pace. I learned APL through code-golf contests, where the object is to "golf" code in the shortest number of bytes possible. APL is very useful there. I enjoy using APL because it forces me to use an array-oriented approach to problems. I gained more of an understanding of the concept of rank during the competition."




The Winning Professional Entrant is Mike Powell, who receives an invitation to attend Dyalog '17 in Denmark.

"I got my first look at APL sometime in 1973 from John Scholes. He dragged me away from some good old Fortran coding to show me something really cool. Made complete sense immediately. My thinking has been changed ever since. That first introduction was with Xerox APL on a Sigma 7 at WS Atkins in Epsom. Since then I've used most of the APLs around – and J and K. But, I still feel most comfortable with all the funny glyphs. Forget ASCII portability; give me and any day.

"I spent a good number of years making a living from APL, either at IP Sharp or as a consultant. More recently, I've practised as a lawyer but, now at age 67, I'm retired. But still very much the APL enthusiast."


Thank You and Congratulations

This is the 9th consecutive year that Dyalog Ltd – together with sponsors APL Italiana, Fiserv and SimCorp – has run the International APL Problem Solving Competition. We would like to thank the sponsors for making it possible to continue to run this annual programming challenge and for hosting the 2017 contest.

Congratulations to all the winners.