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Comment Go With Your Gut (Score 5, Insightful) 407

Unless these kids already have a programming proficiency, go with your gut.

The exercise is as much about allowing them to test the programming waters as it is about them winning. If you are starting with a blank slate, that means you need to create an environment that is intriguing. If YOU think Python is the thing, you'll be passionate ... and that is a lot of what makes a good coach/tutor in an olympiad.

Further, I think you could do a lot worse than Python. It is really a great language and is popping up in a lot of disciplines as the scripting tool of choice. It will perform well and has great characteristics that make it well suited for someone learning the ropes. Plus, the language is modern enough to be relevant should they desire to pursue IT further.

I would stay away from C/C++. In the hands of novices in a timed activity, I would wager it would be more trouble than it's worth.


Submission + - Enigma of Ancient Computer Solved

zentropa writes: "A 2,100-year-old clockwork machine whose remains were retrieved from a shipwreck more than a century ago has turned out to be the celestial supercomputer of the ancient world, scientists say. Using 21st-century technology to peer beneath the surface of the encrusted gearwheels, stunned scientists say the so-called Antikythera Mechanism could predict the ballet of the Sun and Moon over decades and calculate a lunar anomaly that would bedevil Isaac Newton himself. Built in Greece around 150 to 100 BC and possibly linked to the astronomer and mathematician Hipparchos, its complexity was probably unrivalled for at least a thousand years, the boffins reckon."

Journal Journal: AMD Describes Road to 45-nm Processors

AMD described their road to 45-nm processors this week in academic papers. The strategy is based on three fundamental techniques: "the use of immersion lithography, which uses a lens of purified water to help manufacture the components; an "ultra" low-k dielectric, which lowers the capacitance of the chip, allowing lower power consumption; and an improved version of "strained silicon," which has applied four different
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - WiiSaber Turns Your Wiimote into a Lightsaber

Simon Vincent writes: "You might recall the MacSaber application from a while back. The same guy has released a beta version of his new WiiSaber app. The application looks and works just like MacSaber, but the input device is the WiiMote instead of your Apple laptop. This means no more worrying that your laptop will break while playing Jedi/Sith, unless the Wiimote slips out of your hand and smashes your Mac. Many TV sets have already suffered the WiiMote pain. I wonder how long it will be until we see a Mac like that, now that the WiiSaber app is out."

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