Advent of Code
This post is about 10 months late, but I wanted to note on the blog that I solved the 2019 advent of code problems using Rust. I am fairly proud of myself for solving all 25 problems- I was luckly enough to have extra time I didn't expect due to changing plans, and I managed to catch up after starting fairly late. Ultimately I had to solve the last problem after the 25th, but I solved them none-the-less.
I enjoyed doing this kind of informal programming in Rust, my current goto language for hobby stuff. I used to do programming competitions in college, and the AoC problems are very simple, but more interesting an sophisticated. You read in some file, perhaps a map or instructions for a machine, and generate an output that matches the judge. Its throwaway code and just exercised your problem solving and knowledge base- you have to take out your toolbox of algorithms, language, libraries, etc to get the job done. Good stuff.
I also learned some things about Advent of Code problems, like to inspect the specific problem description and your given file in case there are simplifications that can be applied. I wrote some unncessarily general solutions to some problems, only later realizing that I was making things much to hard on myself.
My only other note on this was that I recall making some interesting use of A-Star in one of the problems. It was interesting in that I recall two levels of search- searching for solutions, and using search to generate solutions. This was the most abstract use of A-star I can remember, and it was fun to apply this kind of knowledge in a way that was novel for me.
Overall, I enjoyed Advent of Code 2019 a great deal, and I hope to start earlier and try to keep up this year!