News about Dyalog

Sep 10, 2018

2018 APL Problem Solving Competition Winners

The 10th annual APL Problem Solving Competition winners were announced on 3 September 2018. 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 10 participation prizes being awarded to the submissions judged to make the best use of APL. Phase II 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 Alve Björk of Uppsala University in Sweden. He receives a cash prize of $2,500 USD and an invitation to present his winning work at Dyalog '18 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


"I've known of APL for some time, and have been curious about it, so I saw the competition as the perfect opportunity to learn more. What I found was a programming language that seemed to have evolved almost in a separate world from its more conventional cousins, and does a lot of things very differently. The symbolic notation together with the powerful set of primitives makes it easy to scribble down even moderately complex programs on a piece of paper, or type them directly at the prompt. By working directly with arrays instead of individual elements, a lot of looping which would have to be done explicitly in other languages can be abstracted away. Users are encouraged to develop their programs interactively, trying things out as they go, thereby short-circuiting the usual edit-recompile-test cycle."





The second place winner is Lynn Van Hauwe who attends the University of Antwerp in Belgium. She receives a cash prize of $1,250 USD.


"I'm a computer science and mathematics student at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

"I like programming languages, and I'm constantly trying out new paradigms to enrich the way I think about solving problems with code. I had tried some array programming before, but the contest was a great opportunity to dive in and get more comfortable with it. While working on the problems, I kept being surprised by discovering new ways APL's simple functions fit together in very useful ways, leading to succinct and elegant solutions. I came out thinking every programming language should be a tiny bit more like APL!"



The third place winner is Rafael Rodrigues Rocha de Melo who attends Kyoto University in Japan. He receives a cash prize of $750 USD.


"I'm a Computer Engineering student at Kyoto University. I started programming with Pascal, and evolved to C/C++ during school, to participate in Informatics Olympiads. Until this time I was happy with imperative programming languages. It was only after entering college that a professor introduced me to Common Lisp, and the Functional Paradigm, that enriched my problem-solving ability. I discovered APL when I started an internship in a Chinese Bank in Brazil, and applied for the competition as a way to motivate me to study programming applied to finance. I have finally found a language that easily translates ideas into code, and makes problem-solving an interesting and joyful activity. Another good point when using APL is that it improves my reasoning, and consequently increases my abilities in other programming languages. I want to continue studying mathematics and programming applied to finance, and Dyalog APL will be my reasoning tool during this path."





The Winning Professional Entrant is Tiziano Berghi, who receives an invitation to attend Dyalog '18 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


"I'm 37 years old and I graduated in mathematics. When I started working for SimCorp Italiana, 10 years ago, I abandoned COBOL and started using APL. I like solving problems and APL simplifies the way we think of them. Not having to worry about the type and shape of data is great, and the compactness and the many primitives available make it a very cool language. My favourite primitive is the one with the same symbol as the first letter of my name."


Thank You and Congratulations

This is the 10th consecutive year that Dyalog Ltd – together with sponsors 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 2018 contest.

Congratulations to all the winners.