Careers in algorithms?

Let's talk about algorithms!

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Careers in algorithms?

Post by mafattah »

I lately had a discussion with a colleague of mine on the ACM contest and how it is so exciting and challenging. After talking about it for a bit of time I told him "So why do not you join the contest?" He instantly replied, "Because it is not useful at all!"

Well, ... :-?

Then he clarified,
"The knowledge of algorithms you gain from the contest can be gained by reading only. I already know enough of this information and I can manage if I want to solve a problem that meets me while programming something, but what is the use of being able to solve so many problems in the five hours of the contest? You never need to be that fast, as it is only occasionally when you meet similar problems in real life."

Actually, my counter argument against him was not very strong nor very convincing. Therefore, I wonder what would you have said if you were asked this question. For example, are there careers that require the type of experience that one gains through his training in the contest more than anything else (well, other than the straightforward answer of a professor teaching algorithms in some university)? I hope you help me know the answer.

Thanks :)

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A strange reply

Post by shahriar_manzoor »

I think I am not the perfect person to reply your question as I was not a very successful contestant myself. But I think solving problems does not mean only knowing algorithms. You cannot build a castle by only putting one brick upon another. If someone thinks that knowing algorithms is only getting a good grade in one

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Post by kmhasan »

mafattah's friend wrote:The knowledge of algorithms you gain from the contest can be gained by reading only...
I disagree. There are problems that can be solved by regular text book methods and there are problems where you actually need some insights, some experience and some creativity that cannot be gained from reading only.

And then again,
There's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.
I love Matrix -- the movie, I find so many marvelous dialogs that come handy in so many places. :D
mafattah's friend wrote:what is the use of being able to solve so many problems in the five hours of the contest? You never need to be that fast...
I believe it tests your nerves to the fullest and makes you fit for handling pressure. Besides why should I complain on someone being fast when he/she is correct?
mafattah's friend wrote:it is only occasionally when you meet similar problems in real life.
I strongly disagree. A lot of the problems in real life can be reduced to the problems that we solve when we practice. Reduction is the keyword.

I would always say that I learnt a lot more being a contestant than being a student (and I am talking about learning topics from the academic courses!). It is also true that I learnt a lot more being a problemsetter than being a contestant. The maturity helps, I guess. :D

Thanks for bringing up this interesting topic. I hope that someday your friend would realize that he was wrong.

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Post by Subeen »

i think the greatest thing i get from solving problems is fun. (and i believe everyone thinks so) when i get a problem accecpted it feels like taking a wicket (cricket! :wink: ) or scoring a goal (football aka soccer :wink: ) no more, no less!

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Post by junjieliang »

I've thought about that as well, as in, is it a waste of time solving hundreds of problems on the OJ? I'm not even taking any computing courses! But later I thought: If I'm enjoying this, why bother? If everything you do in life has to be practical... well it'll get boring...

And if reading alone can help you solve problems, everyone would have done 1000+ already :lol:

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Post by Jalal »

I completely agree with subeen............. :lol:
The fun and the happiness gained by the solving is really excellent......
I can remember, to solve a program of I just took 2 month time(the prob no. was 602). By the time i got WA message more that 20 times... :-?
But when i solved that i knew how much happy i was...............
The felling is not sharable...... its just mine.............. :P

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Post by bugzpodder »

just doesnt make u feel so nice when u cant solve a problem

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It helps you..

Post by Miguel Angel »

I think it helps you:
* To develop creative solutions
* To apply knoweldge
* To work under pressure
* To work in team (ACM contest)
* To be efficient and efective
Which in some cases it's enough for some companies to apply for a good job :).

Of course you won't live only from the IOI and ACM knoweldge, it's like a topic you chose, is like a Math course of an Engeenering, you may not be a mathematician in a future, you'll be an Engeenier, but the knowledge on Maths helps you as a basis to many many things more :).
:D Miguel & Marina :D

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Post by veron »

Yes,it's nice thinking from MA.Ofcourse solving ACM develop the
logical and mathematicals scence of any Progg.Nothing can give more joy,only acm I think.

But there is also a real life and real world(not OOP).I think most of the student in our sweet world makes a dream for a good career,you agree or not that is the actual situation.

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Post by Moni »

Better late than never! Of course it's an interesting topic and I have consulted with my Guru.........

What you think about his opinion???

I doubt you could go out and find a job writing algorithms. Basically, writing algorithms comes with programming in any language. The nice thing about algorithms is that you don't have to learn them in any specific language. If you developed an algorithm in C it would be very easy to move it over to JAVA and vice versa.

Even in todays Point and Click world and development tools like Visual Studio, Netbeans, Eclipse, at some point, you are still going to be writing some sort of algorithm. Eventually, there is some work to be done. And there is an efficient and effective way to perform that work.

As far as a career, algorists will primarily succeed beyond that of every day programmers and GUI designer/developers. It's algorists that give you all these nice tools to point and click with. It's algorists that work for NASA, MIT, Stanford. All your great minds were algorists in their own right. Einstien, Hawkings, and one of my favorites, John Nash.

Anyone who tells you there are no need for algorithms anymore is either ignorant, not very bright, or possibly both.

ImageWe are all in a circular way, no advances, only moving and moving!

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Post by kuasha »

I am a very very bad ACM programmer and I should not talk on this topic. But everything I say here is the summary of what our teacher Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal says us always about the question of career

In computer science we study some subjects like Economics, Social Work, Mother Language and even learn how to operate Engine Lathe. If some one thinks these courses are useless he missed the real thing needed in life. Doing good in exams does not mean that u can be successfull in career. I think it is possible to do good in exams by memorizing in most cases. But in real life it does not mean that a person who can memorize better will be more successful. (Though 'The floating point numbers ie, CGPA is most important in life also- Shahriar Manzoor':-)). Problems in real life is rarely identical to some previous problems. When some one falls in a problem what helps him/her is his/her ability to tackle the problem. ACM programming improves the ability of Brain Work.

And if there is some people who have almost same type of ability in some application level programming and one of them has the knoledge of solving ACM problem then he must be preferable. Achieving skill in application level programming for a ACM programmer is not a great deal :) , but achieving the analytical ability of an ACM programmer for an application level programmer is not so easy :evil: .
Maruf Maniruzzaman

1. Tomorrow is a blank page.........
2. If something is not bad, there is a great chance that it is good

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Post by Arnold »

There is a so close difference between real application program and ACM program.I think every programmer have an possible ability to solve application and ACM program.Acm increase one's ability to find out this typical task.

Therefore algorithm make an important role in that situation.Being a CSE student I can say it's so much enjoyable and effective.Here I cannot think about carears.And I am totally agree with my previous poster that Tomorrow is blank page.....

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