Advent of Code, in Erlang: Day 25

Published Wednesday, December 29, 2021 by Bryan

And so we reach the end of the Advent of Code. The final puzzle, Day 25, is straightforward, if a little tricky to get the what-was-what-is states correct. My code is in my github repo, but as it's just another list-walking substitution, I don't think it's worth discussing here. Instead, in this post I'll share my thoughts on the event.

I do have some critical thoughts about the event, but I don't feel like yucking someone else's yum this morning. That includes my own. I had a fun time solving these puzzles, and writing about them. Here are a few things I got out of the experience:

  • I learned how to use a new feature in Erlang that I had never used before (maps).
  • I re-learned a useful graph search algorithm.
  • I got to experience my own version of NaNoWriMo, writing every day for almost two weeks.

That last point may be the best. I enjoy explaining things I have learned, and writing is one of my favorite ways to do it. It took longer to write many of these posts than it did to solve the puzzle they were about. But I found that I enjoyed the writing just as much. Some of the posts are better than others. Some aren't, but I appreciate the experience of having written them anyway.

I know some people have wondered whether I've been solving these puzzles, and publishing my work, in an effort to prepare for, or attract job recruitment. That is not the case. That's really my biggest beef with the contest. Pitching these puzzles as good ways to prepare for interviewing (as the About page does) isn't incorrect. Many of them do have strong similarities to coding interviews I've experienced. But it does perpetuate the use of those sorts of interviews, which seem to be questionable, at best, in their quality of prediction of on-the-job performance. (Sorry for the tiny amount of yuck. It's over now.)

So will I keep writing about coding puzzles? Not at this pace, no. I've delayed a bunch of woodworking posts, because they would have ruined Christmas surprises. Those are next, and then there are other woodworking projects I'd like to start, now that there's shop space for them again. Something code-related will show up in a future post (maybe a QOI update for the official spec?), but I have no New Years resolution puzzle series planned. If you find a good puzzle, though, please do let me know.

Thanks to the organizers for hosting the event, and thanks to everyone who has read these posts and sent me feedback. Happy New Year! See you in 2022!