[fpc-pascal] Pascal is alive!!??

Daniël Mantione daniel.mantione at freepascal.org
Tue Feb 20 14:00:27 CET 2007

Op Tue, 20 Feb 2007, schreef Aavani at iust.ac.ir:

> In the ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest dropped pascal
> for this year final competitions and for next year, the students are not
> allowed to use pascal as their programming language. Did you know this? What
> is your idea? Also, in TopCoder site, you can not develop your programs with
> Pascal while as I know, Pascal has all the properties that C++ or JAVA have.
> Any idea? Is there any technical problem with Pascal to be used in TopCoder's
> contest?

I saw this coming for a few years. Free Pascal has most definately been 
able to delay this for a few years, it was the de facto standard in 
competitions in recent years. But the trend was there. When I  
participated myself the amount of people using Pascal was in decline, 
usually in the end it were two teams of 50 or so who used Pascal.

Note that only the *requirement* to offer a Pascal environment has been 
scrapped, organisers of contests can still provide it if they want. So, 
please lobby at the contest organisation for a Pascal environment.

The only fix here is to strengthen our position in education. Most people 
today participate in Java, which is silly as it puts you in a clear 
disadvantage. I once submitted the first non-Java implementation of a 
problem after an hour into the contest. The reference implementation of 
the jury took 10 minutes and 60 MB of memory. My Pascal implementation 
gave the result instantly, while using 300 kilobytes of memory. The jury 
was totally blown away; after the contest we did investigate and it turned 
out that Pascal text I/O versus Java text I/O was 100% responsible for 
the difference.

In short, Pascal still rocks in contests. One thing is very important: 
a rock solid text mode IDE under both Windows and Linux. This makes a 
difference in a contest. FPC has never been able to live up to the Turbo 
Pascal level here. I'd say especially the IDE in Linux was only useable 
for people knowledged with FPC to work around the limitations.

Perhaps we should ask Tom Verhoeff, he is very involved in the icpc's.


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