Herbert's Summer 2018 Contest Happens This Weekend! 

Ready to prove your programming prowess? Herbert's Summer 2018 Contest is happening this weekend!

This year we are using a different format. Instead of having 30 days to complete the test, you'll have just 30 minutes to solve as many levels as you can. There are 10 levels in the contest, ranging from easy to difficult. How far can you get?

First place prize this year is a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

The contest starts exactly at September 2 0:00 GMT - that's Saturday afternoon (September 1) for North America.

Click here to enter, or to sign up for an SMS reminder one hour before the contest. Participation is free.

New to Herbert? I suggest clicking the contest link one hour beforehand, to give yourselves time to register, take the tutorial, and practice on some older contests before the new contest starts.

Good luck!

Brian

View User Profile for Brian Conte
Posted by Brian Conte Thursday, August 30, 2018 5:25:00 PM Categories: computer programming game contests

Herbert's Summer 2017 Contest - Final Results! 

Herbert's Summer 2017 Contest ended yesterday and the final leaderboard is available here. Congratulations to misaki from Japan for winning this contest. As you can see, it was a close match between misaki and several others, including AlexDinaro of Russia, wwvww of Japan, and Blakman of Russia, and at least one other top competitor that did not choose to show themselves on the leaderboard. The leadership position changed many times during the course of the competition.

Don't see your name on the leaderboard? It may be because you did not check "I would like my name, school or organization, country, and score to be included in contest leaderboards." in your profile. Go to your profile page to change that.

This contest proved to be a tough one. 126 people joined the contest, but levels 20, 24, and 25 remain unsolved by anyone.

The most time was spent on level 16 - this proved surprisingly hard, with only 5 people solving it by the end of the contest.

(Max 20 bytes).

Thanks for participating! I hope you enjoyed the contest, and the new web client. I'd love to get your feedback on both. You can email me or post to our facebook page.

Stay tuned for more contests!

Brian

Posted by Brian Conte Saturday, September 2, 2017 8:33:00 PM Categories: computer programming game contests

Herbert's Summer 2017 Contest is Open! 

Good news! We just opened our summer contest for 2017, with 25 new Herbert levels to challenge you, ranging from easy to mind-blowing. The contest will be open through the end of July. How well can you do?

You can access the contest here, using the old Herbert app.

Or give our alpha web/mobile app a try! Just head over to http://herbert.wildnoodle.com, sign in, and choose Summer 2017 Contest.

Some notes on the alpha:

  1. This is a web app that you should be able to access from any device and most current browsers. We recommend Chrome for the best experience. Please note the app has known issues with Internet Explorer.
  2. If you have previously registered to Wild Noodle but have forgotten your password, use "forgot password" to reset it.
  3. You may use your social media account to log in, but it must be associated with the email that you previously registered with; otherwise, you will not be able to access any prior work.
  4. Once you log in, if you use the email you previously registered with, you should be able to access your prior contest work using "Switch Contest" on the popup menu (second icon from right). 
  5. New to Herbert? Choose "Tutorial" on the popup menu for a quick tutorial on programming in Herbert.
  6. Remember this an alpha - it should work for the most part, but you may encounter some issues. Please let us know if you do!

Have fun! Happy Herberting!

Posted by Brian Conte Monday, July 3, 2017 9:49:00 PM Categories: computer programming computer science game contests

Lessons from the Herbert Summer 2016 Competition 

One of the first questions people ask when beginning to take an Intro Programming course, is how do you test someone’s ability to code? The general answer is having students code on paper, by being asked questions which challenge them to write a program using skills they should have mastered. The next question tends to be why. The testing questions are much more concise and pointed than large scale programming projects assigned as homework. To some students the idea of testing small scale problems for a subject which seems to have only large scale applications seems futile. A general answer most professors give is that in the industry, a portion of your interview will require solving problems similar to those given on a midterm. On a larger scale, however, learning how to solve small-scale programming or logic problems efficiently has much more benefit to programming than just preparing you for an interview.

Participating in the Herbert Summer Competition has established in my eyes that being able to solve small-scale and pointed programming problems is an important skill. Throughout each level of Herbert, the programming challenges increase in difficulty, as well as in the amount of skills which are being tested.  In large scale programming projects, it is highly likely that a broad range of skills will be necessary – various data structures, iteration, recursion, runtime efficiency, etc. – yet depending on the variability or broadness of a project, it is possible that these skills will be used in relatively the same manner time and time again. Or there may be a variety of other factors that lead to a lack of practice. A competition like Herbert provides a platform in which to practice logical thinking and problem solving skills, in a unique programming language, and in a different manner than usual.

Aside from interning, one thing that summer break always seems to provide is a chance to get away from school work. However, this always leads to a less than smooth transition when coming back to school. As a college student, and an engineering student specifically, there is no such thing as “Syllabus Week”, and the first day of lecture is just that; a first day of lecture. Within the first two weeks, I am already studying for a physics midterm, and having a long break from logical problem solving comes as a handicap when courses move that fast. There is no two weeks to transition back into using my brain regularly. Participating in the Herbert Summer competition has acted as a much needed challenge while I have been away from school.  The puzzles were challenging but enjoyable. Each level increase brings a unique puzzle, and it is very clear that they were built carefully and precisely. Adaption is a common skill necessary to proceed throughout Herbert, as the algorithm or thinking behind what may have worked to solve a previous puzzle, will not work down the road. Herbert challenges one to constantly build upon problem solving ability. Another feature I find very interesting and true to programming itself, is that there is no one right answer. There is the right answer that fits the correct efficiency, and completes the goal properly, but there is more than one way to get to that solution.

Overall, I have gained a lot of insight through participating in the Herbert Summer Competition. I believe that the skills which Herbert puzzles challenge, and focus on, are important skills to practice as a Computer Science Major. I believe that practicing these skills on a unique, and small-scale level aside from my large-scale programming intern work, will greatly benefit me when I begin taking classes again focused on logical thinking and puzzle solving. I also found Herbert to be fun. I generally spend my summers, or free time, playing Candy Crush and working to solve problems in that regard, but actually solving problems through coding language has proved to be a much more exciting task – and one which I think will yield myself a larger reward once the school year begins.

Posted by Miri Hyman Thursday, September 8, 2016 3:59:00 PM Categories: computer science game contests

Herbert is Back! 

I am very pleased to announce that Herbert, the challenge previously in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup online software programming competition, is back! We are kicking off a new Herbert competition for summer 2016.

Herbert challenges your ability to see patterns and create algorithms to produce these patterns. It can be used both as a teaching tool for programming as well as a challenge for seasoned programmers. I think you’ll enjoy challenging yourself with Herbert, whether you are new to programming, new to Herbert, or a seasoned Herbert competitor from the past.

Ready to take on your peers? The Summer 2016 Contest will run June 1 through August 31, 2016, and will consist of 25 levels, ranging from very easy to extremely challenging. How far can you get?

Registration is already open – click here to sign up today!

View User Profile for Brian Conte Brian Conte is the Chief Technology Officer at Wild Noodle, and the original creator of Herbert.
Posted by Brian Conte Friday, May 27, 2016 7:57:00 PM Categories: computer programming game contests