News about Dyalog

Sep 2, 2020

Meet The 2020 APL Problem Solving Competition Winners


The 12th annual APL Problem Solving Competition winners were announced on 21 August 2020. 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 problem sets, 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 Andrii Makukha of the University of Hong Kong in China. He receives a cash prize of $2,500 USD, an invitation to present his winning work at Dyalog '20 and a delegate package registration for Dyalog '21 in Olhão, Portugal.

"Two months ago I was tired from the hardships of my Master's project. So, in order to relax a little, I visited Open Kattis in search of a fun problem to solve. Instead, however, I learned about this competition. And – oh, boy! – how much fun did I have afterwards!

After noticing that this contest is sponsored by SimCorp, a well-known company in my home country, Ukraine, I knew that I didn't have any choice other than to compete. Despite having no prior knowledge of APL, forty days later I submitted a winning solution.

In the meantime, APL proved to be a very useful tool for computer science studies. When I showed my classmates how 30 lines of Java code can be elegantly expressed with a few lines of APL notation, very few would stay unimpressed. And because APL has the powers of such instant appeal, highly mathematical abstraction, fairly easy learnability, and can be used for real software engineering (as this year's problem set convincingly proves), I greatly recommend everyone to learn this wonderful programming language "



The second place winner is Dzintars Klušs, who attends Riga State Gymnasium No. 1 in Latvia. He receives a cash prize of $1,250 USD.

"I got to know about APL from a code golfing site where Unicode symbols for things is a standard, but APL turned out to be a fairly interesting language, useful for many things other than golfing. It easily became my go-to "pocket calculator", taking on code prototyping too due to its terseness, this being my third year entering this competition. While I don't use APL for everything, it has still played some part of most of my programming projects, and I often end up wishing for many of APLs built-ins to be in other languages too "



The third place winner is Joshua King who attends the University of New South Wales in Australia. He receives a cash prize of $750 USD.

"I love learning new languages, especially interesting ones. As a member of CGCC (the Code Golf and Coding Challenges StackExchange), I've always been aware of APL, through its reputation for being a concise yet practical language (which means it does very well in most competitions). I finally started learning it this year, and it's been a lot of fun learning to think in an array-oriented fashion and playing around with small snippets of code. This competition has been my first chance to start working with APL with more complex problems, and I'm looking forward to participating in future competitions as well as writing more APL in personal projects."


The Winning Professional Entrant is Woosuk Kwak, who receives an invitation to attend Dyalog '21 in Olhão, Portugal.

"I am a 28-year-old programmer, currently working at a semiconductor tech company in South Korea.

"Unlike other professional winners so far (as far as I know), my primary job isn’t related to APL at all. Instead, I use APL mainly for my hobby - solving code golf challenges at Code Golf Stack Exchange. My first exposure to APL was also on that site, around 2 years ago. At first, I saw APL at the same level as other esoteric or golfing languages. After getting lost in the flood of esoteric languages several times for a year, I finally came back to APL as my language of choice for golfing. I was attracted to how smoothly an idea turns into concise and easy-to-read code, freeing me from complex syntactic structures and constantly looking up the docs. Since then, I’m taking a main part in the project to advertise APL on Code Golf.SE by mainly solving hard challenges on the site. I'm also regularly active at the APL Orchard chat room, helping other newcomers learn APL when Adám is not around."


Thank You and Congratulations

This is the 12th 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.

Congratulations to all the winners.