Successful introductory Workshops

Short report on the 3 days with python and scavenger hunt at ETH Zürich.

Daniel Wolleb-Graf
Workshop 2017 Lecture

Daniel explains the basics of algorithm design.

On the weekend of November 2-4, we organised the largest of this year’s workshops at ETH Zurich. We started with a crash course in python on Friday. Regardless of the fact that most of our more experienced participants use C++ and also we, the organizers, are more fluent in it, python is extremely easy to learn and reads just like poetry. After a few hours most participants already managed to code many tricky tasks.

Workshop 2017 Scavenger Hunt

The winning team is cracking a puzzle at a tram stop somewhere in Zurich.

Therefore, we entertained ourselves with a funny quiz and were able to concentrate on the two graph algorithms breadth and depth first search on Saturday. We computed the shortest paths from A to B, looked for a toilet and even discoverd the illuminati in an immaginary tunnel system. Totally real, however, was the scavenger hunt in the afternoon. Joël and Benjamin had us crack some codes, pick some locks, decipher many riddles and wander all around Zurich.

The toughest topic awaited us on Sunday. It started with Sandro’s classical talk: What is dynamic programming? In a total of four lectures and many tasks we practiced to develop dynamic programs and also to detect cases where even faster, greedy solutions exist. In a final 90-minute contest, everyone was able to show what they learned.

Workshop 2017 - Contest

Everyone in deep thought during the final contest.

If you missed out on the workshop, don’t worry. All our material is collected here:

Workshop Material

You can find all our slides, wiki notes and also all our tasks on the automatic grading system (our “grader”). The next introductory workshops will take place in fall 2018.

An here are our pictures from Lausanne, Berne and Zurich.