Advent of Code 2021

2 minute read

Screenshot of my Advent of Code Dashboard

My Advent of Code Dashboard - Day 15 of 25, 30 gold stars collected!

Advent of Code is an Advent calendar of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill sets and skill levels that can be solved in any programming language you like. People use them as a speed contest, interview prep, company training, university coursework, practice problems, or to challenge each other.

I will admit that when I heard about Advent of Code my first thoughts were “why on earth would I want to do that? There are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time!” … however, after a week or so my curiosity got the better of me and after reading the the first puzzle introduction my mind changed to thoughts of “this seems quite straightforward and shouldn’t take too long” - famous last words, I know…

It also seemed like a good opportunity to play with the recent release of .NET 6 which I’d been following with interest.

Cue some quick puzzle solution wins as the early tasks did prove straighforward (phew!) and Advent of Code quickly found a home in my early morning routine alongside my first cuppa.

Without giving too much away about the puzzles themselves, each day a new two-stage puzzle is made available with the second stage typically a continuation or extension, say, with a larger input dataset. It was particularly satisfying when the initial approach I’d come up with needed little or no adaptation 🙂

Although I only did about half of the advent, I have to say I heartily enjoyed it - it was challenging and fun to have to re-think simple approaches to handle exponential data sets, or researching shortest path algorithms on Wikipedia

Thanks to the creator, Eric Wastl - see you again in December!