Advent of Code 2020


Tomorrow starts the best advent event of the year: the Advent of Code!

For those not familiar with the event, it is a programming contest, put together by Eric Wastl, where everyday a new, or in fact two new (solving the first one unlocks the second one), programming puzzles are proposed (at midnight UTC-5). They are language-agnostic, in fact they could in theory be solved manually (though in a very large amount of time). According to the leaderboard, at least 110 000 programmers around the world managed to solve the first puzzle last year. I participated last year and really thought it was a great and fun way to train my problem-solving skills.

Screenshot of my personal stats from last year's contest.

All puzzles take an input file that is unique to the player so no possibilities to cheat! Naturally I am solving everything in R, though I'm thinking of using python eventually. As you can see on the screenshot they are only 5 of the 49 puzzlesThe 50th "star" is unlocked if the 49 preceeding puzzles are solved I didn't manage to solve so I'm pretty happy about that. Also my ranking (given I play in general 3 hours after the contest is posted because of timezone differences) is not too bad either, I think.

Last year contest revolved heavily around an interpreter for a made-up, self-modifying programming language and a lot of path-finding problems. The latter actually gave me some great insight of an issue I had in my professional life.

I'm quite looking forward to this year's puzzles! I might even document here some of them, otherwise the code and all material necessary to make it reproducible will be on my github repo as usual.