I have been competing in the ICFP Contest for the last 5 years or so and will do so again this year. The contest begins in 3 weeks, it starts on July 13 at 12:00 UTC and will continue until July 16 at 12:00 UTC.
For those that don't know, the ICFP Contest (https://icfpcontest2012.wordpress.com/
) is a long running competition that poses a single hard, and sometimes mathematically deep, task for the participants to solve in a 3-day time period. The task is a secret which is revealed at the beginning of the contest. The problems are hard to solve, but (usually) easy to understand.
To give some idea of what kinds of problems you might expect, previous years have some awesome tasks like:
1. Designing control systems for a Mars rover
2. Designing a flight system for orbiting satellites
3. Writing an AI for a complex card game
And also some interesting, but esoteric problems like:
4. Reverse engineering an alien machine code from a compiled executable and data mining that executable
5. Writing code in various, odd computational models (typically involving writing an interpreter and an optimizing compiler)
In the past I have worked either by myself or in a group of people where each used their language of choice. I have found that when you work by yourself it is easy to lose motivation, particularly when you get stuck and you have no one to bounce ideas off of. When you work with others it is easy to stay with it, but when you are each using your own language, a great deal of effort is spent in porting solutions between various languages or in designing flexible interfaces and protocols between the various code pieces. What I would like to do this year is work with a team of people using Common Lisp for the main development.
The idea would be to get together a group of Lisp programmers that will communicate over IRC, Google+ hangouts (group video chat), or even a Mumble VoIP server and share files using Dropbox and/or GitHub. We can even try some more cutting edge collaborative setups such as shared VNC and/or screen sessions, collaborative editing using Rudel with Emacs, or just connecting to a single Lisp image with multiple swank connections if we are able to try it out prior to the contest start. Last year, my team used a setup with some of these elements to facilitate development with a widespread group and it worked pretty well.If you are interested
in spending a fun weekend participating and would like to work with me, using Common Lisp, please let me know. Anybody is invited to join this team, but ICFP is more geared towards people with a moderate to advanced understanding of programing and/or mathematics. People with a remedial understanding of both might not get a lot out of the experience, but don't let me stop you.
Also, I apologize if you have received this message several times through multiple Lisp community channels. We have a small community so I really need to beat the bushes to find interested parties.