dawgzzzz's blog

By dawgzzzz, history, 6 weeks ago, In English

I am in my 30's working as a musician. I was not good at math in school or science or standardized testing. In elementary school I was diagnosed as learning disabled and placed in special, slower classes. In the early days school was a laborious struggle for me. I'm not smart. I'm not gifted. In terms of programming, I took one java course in college and nearly failed it.

But here I am attempting competitive programming. This is my journey. I plan on documenting progress here.

For the past 6 weeks I've been practicing roughly 2 hours a day. I can solve 800 — 1000 level problems in 15 to 30 minutes. I don't know many data structures and mostly rely on brute force and implementation and some knowledge of the cpp standard library. I've been practicing mostly with USACO bronze level problems which I find far more difficult than the 800 — 1000 level problems I've seen on codeforces. Often these problems take 1.5 to 2 hours for me to solve. Often times I do not pass all test cases. Often times I have to look up the answer as I am completely stuck. I have difficulty understanding the problems. I tend to overthink and somehow add layers of complexity that don't exist. If the problem asks for the sum of time intervals, in my head, I'll try to solve it for the sum of contiguous time intervals. I don't know why my brain modifies the problems to make them more difficult. But that's something I am dealing with right now.

 
 
 
 
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6 weeks ago, # |
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Good luck have fun man !! You will really enjoy competitive programming :)

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6 weeks ago, # |
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I think it's really nice that you're trying to work at improving at competitive programming despite your past experience, which usually deters a lot of people (and thinking out loud -- it is something that I feel should be stressed more often). I hope it is an enjoyable experience for you!

Just as a small tip, as you mentioned being stuck with certain problems: a good step at solving problems that can't be solved using just brute-force and implementation is being familiar with proof-based mathematics and trying to simplify things as much as possible by breaking it into manageable chunks you've seen before. This helps in thinking about things in a systematic manner, and, along with some more experience, this will also help you develop intuition as to which problems are "harder" to solve than others.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Thanks!! I've recently discovered a category of problem called "ad hoc" in usaco and am having a great deal of difficulty. Like you said, these problems rely on simplification, and logical reasoning to arrive what appears to be a series of conclusions. You can then deduce and find the answer.This type of thinking is very new to me and foreign. I think that's what you are talking about when you say "proof" based. If you mean.. proving that something must be true and then if that's true under this condition something else must be true,etc etc

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6 weeks ago, # |
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Sounds like a thriller movie trailer, definitely will follow!

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6 weeks ago, # |
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zzzzzzz

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6 weeks ago, # |
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Hey, I found the fact that you are giving CP a try very cool especially considering your background. Do realize that gaining rating in codeforces is kind of a slow process, so it is not always a great indicator to know if you are getting better.Good luck, have fun.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    No I didn't know that thanks! I am not sure how to get rating.. i'm just completing problems right now.

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      6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Oh, fine. Rating is gained by participating in live contests (You can see it in the pay attention bar on the right side). You can give those a try as well