ICFP Programming Contest 2005 Results

Hooray for the winners and judges!!

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It's nice to see Dylan making such a good showing here. Perhaps it's time to dust off the old Dylan Reference and take another look. :-)


From Planet Lisp:
The Gwydion Dylan group have announced the release of 'Open Dylan' 1.0 beta. This is the open source release of what used to be a commercial Dylan development system called 'Functional Developer'. The release was announced on the gd-hackers mailing list:

we're glad to be able to announce the release of Open Dylan 1.0beta1:

Open Dylan is an open source implementation of the Dylan programming
language, plus a large number of assorted libraries. Most of the code
had once been developed by a company called Harlequin, for a product
called DylanWorks in the beginning, and Harlequin Dylan later. After
Harlequin demised, some of the programmers acquired the rights, and kept
selling the development environment under the name of Functional
Developer. Eventually, to the joy of the Dylan community, they decided
to release all of their source code under an open source license. What
you can download at http://www.opendylan.org/downloads/opendylan/
is the attempt of a group of enthusiasts calling themselves the
"Dylan Hackers" (that's us :) ) to bundle up this code,
and publish it in a form useful for the general public.

This is release 1.0beta1, the first public release of Open Dylan.
Naturally, we expect this release to have bugs. We're interested in
getting your feedback, in order to improve this product.

Downloads are available for Linux/x86 and Windows.

One more cup of coffee

It's not the first time Dylan has done well either. A C++/Dylan combination took the judges' prize in 2003, and the Dylan Hackers took second in 2001.


Of course, we all remember what also happened in 2003

when the judges were forced to hold their noses and proclaim C++ the "tool of choice for discriminating hackers"...


Something unclear to me

I never wrote something in Dylan but I always felt it was an intriguing language, it is nice to see it is getting a little bit more momentum with Open Dylan and this partial success.

But reading the writeup I notice they first made a sketch of the problems in ruby.

I got the impression that Dylan was already quite suitable for incremental/explorative development (i.e. allowing optional type hints), someone could explain this?

There are two reasons that Ke

There are two reasons that Keith wrote an initial simple robber in Ruby rather than in Dylan. The first is that he is a beginner in Dylan, but very experienced in Ruby (and C++). The second is that although we already had a completed program framework in Dylan, the team members who wrote it had gone to bed with one critical file not checked in and it took me several hours to recreate it.

I've organized a team to enter the ICFP contest each year since 2000.

In 2000 and 2001 my team consisted of experienced Dylan programmers from around the world and we won 2nd prize in 2001 with a pure Dylan effort.

In 2002 and 2003 my team consisted of friends here in Wellington. They are good programmers but had not used Dylan at *all* before the start of the 2002 contest. We took the Judges' prize in 2003 with a mixed-language entry. Keith wrote a racing car simulator using C++ and OpenGL because that is the langauge he was most famliar with using OpenGL from (now, alas for Dylan, he'd probably use Ruby). Alex wrote a track optimizer in Dylan -- a very good effort considering that his experience in Dylan at that time was 3 days in the 2002 contest. And I wrote hardly anything at all, just driving the car in Keith's simulation and answering Alex's "how do I do XXX in Dylan?" questions.

In 2004 and 2005 my team has been a mixture of the two groups, partly made up of experienced Dylan programmers around the world, and partly made up of my personal friends here in Wellington who I'm *still* trying to convince to learn Dylan properly :-(

I think that Dylan is one of the best single languages for tackling complex problems requiring high runtime performance and developed in a short amount of time, but I'm pragmatic enough that I'm not about to lose a programming contest just for the sake of purity! I'd like to promote Dylan a little bit because I think it's rather more obscure than it deserves to be but in the end what I really want is to win the contest!! So if, for example, Keith's Ruby robber had ended up looking more competitive than my Dylan one then that's what we would have submitted.