Ultimate Coder Challenge: First Thoughts from the Judges

Last week, our Challengers submitted the final version of their perceptual computing apps to the judges, and this week, it was testing time.  Our judges took on the task of putting each project through its paces, and wrote up their first thoughts on each and every one – in addition to general thoughts on the Challenge and the future of perceptual computing. Are there clear winners for our judges? Not quite yet, and the final verdict won’t be in until next week when we announce the winners on April 24. Here’s what our judges had to say after their initial testing periods:

Steve “Chippy” Paine: Steve is no stranger to the Ultimate Coder Challenge, having been a judge in the first go-round that focused on the Ultimate Ultrabook™ app.  He’s been very active in this competition, giving some great advice and constructive criticism to our Challengers every week. In this last post, Steve writes about his testing experience, noting that there are definitely some obstacles to make these perceptual computing apps flow the way they are meant to. Data smoothing, a common gesture set, simple input placement, and power controls are the biggest issues that Steve had to contend with during testing, and he gives valuable feedback on each of these. As far as the apps themselves, he notes that “some apps have instant appeal and others require some understanding of what’s going on underneath to appreciate”, which definitely gives us some insight into how hard it its’ going to be to choose an Ultimate winner. There’s no clear-cut outcome in Steve’s post, and the jury is still out on who he might choose as the Ultimate in perceptual computing apps – we shall see. You can read all of Steve’s post here.

Chris Maunder: Chris makes a good point when he writes that “biggest challenge to our contestants at this point isn't the code, or the SDK, or their idea. It's our hardware. It's the installers. It's our ability to understand what they were trying to do and that has proven to be difficult in some cases.” Perceptual computing is still very much in its infancy, and as such creating an experience that translates effectively from one user to another isn’t always seamless. That’s what happens when you’re pioneering new technology, and the excitement and thrill of testing new tech out outweighs the headaches; at least, most of the time. Chris writes in detail about each challenger’s final presentation, noting the pros and cons of each according to the overall aims of the Ultimate Coder Challenge, which was to create the ultimate in perceptual computing apps. Have our coders met that challenge? It’s safe to say that Chris believes at least some have, but just like Steve, we’re not left with any sense of a clear winner – keeping cards very close to the chest here. You can read Chris’s post here.  

Nicole Scott: Nicole, as usual, pulls no punches in her final judge assessment. She sides with fellow judges Steve and Chris on the difficulty of testing apps that are really cutting-edge prototypes, but her overall sense of excitement over this technology shines through. Nicole gives personalized feedback to each contender, giving her personal thoughts on how she viewed each offering, along with detailed responses on the app experience itself. Just like with Steve and Chris, there’s not a clear standout in her assessments, so it will be interesting to see who she has chosen as the Ultimate Winner. You can read Nicole’s entire post here.

 This is it!

All the apps have been submitted. All the judges have turned in their assessments and their scorecards. Now it’s time to pick the winner. Who do you think should win this Challenge? Give us your thoughts in the comments below! 

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.