Enjoying Another Advent of Code

On his blog, Karthik Balakrishnan wrote:

My interest in competitive programming dwindled pretty quickly and eventually I stopped doing it all together.

Until I discovered Advent of Code.

The whole article describes exactly how I feel, except I'd never even tried competitive programming before. The very thought of it fills me with dread — or at least it did until, like Karthik, I was turned on to AoC when I was at the Recurse Center. I enjoyed it so much I looked forward to it all this year, and I was delighted when December finally came around.

I liked this too:

As time goes by, I see this becoming more a battle of who can keep the cadence of doing this every day (instead of within minutes/hours).

So far this year I've been hustling to solve each problem as fast as I can. At some point (and to be honest I'm not there yet) I will settle into a "cadence" where I take the time each day to savor the feeling of methodically solving a problem and learning stuff along the way. This will happen naturally as the problems get harder, kind of the way New York Times crosswords get harder throughout the week. I get a different kind of pleasure from a Saturday puzzle than I do from a Monday puzzle.

I've been posting code and brief commentary each day on GitHub. Many others do the same, at their own links and on r/adventofcode.

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