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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Parts of this are somewhat esoteric and of interest to almost none of you. Sorry.

I haven’t flunked out of the C++ Grandmaster Certification yet. Increasingly, I doubt that I’ve got the chops to hack it to the end. At least based on feedback to this point, failing any PA at any time will immediately result in ejection from the course. But, for now, I’m still in the game. I’ve passed PA1 and PA2, and I feel pretty good about my solution to PA3. PA4 is in progress and I’m not stuck yet, but there’s a lot to do in the next four weeks to finish PA4 and PA5. Sadly PA3, PA4, and PA5 are all due at the same time, and I’m going to assume progress from there is atomic.

I haven’t looked at PA6 yet. PAA comes after PA6 and before PA7 (presumably), and involves establishing familiarity with the entirety of C++ (exclusive of the standard library). Which is to say thoroughly reading and understanding the standard. Yikes.

Of 10,000 programmers signing up for this “certification”, only a few hundred completed PA1 and PA2. This isn’t to say I’m in the 1%. Instead, about the only sure thing is that a bunch of people half-assed things to this point and now we’re down to the folks taking it seriously. Or, perhaps more generously, people didn’t realize this wasn’t exactly a coursera course on basic compiler construction. I think perhaps some folks expected a lot more instruction and hand-holding than what the course provides. Mostly it’s structured in the form of “your next task is this, here are a some readings that might help you, and you might want to structure your program roughly in this fashion.”

In fact, the majority of the “teaching” comes from the test cases provided. Thus far the approach is nearly in the form of TDD compiler construction, which is sort of interesting for a project at this scale. I’m not quite sure what to think. Clearly further progress depends on both allocating a lot of time and mental energy to the thing. We’ll see what happens.