Welcome to the weekly series “Meet The Champion”.
Last week we spoke to Yozen Hernandez, the winner of Perl Weekly Challenge - 017. Today we are talking to the Perl Weekly Challenge - 018 winner E. Choroba. I hope you are going to enjoy the interview.
Mohammad: Tell us about your technical background?
Choroba: Both my parents were mathematicians. Despite the iron curtain (I’m from the Czech Republic) and technological embargo of the Eastern block in the 80’s, my father was able to get a Commodore computer for me, so I started with Basic and Assembler at the age of 13. Later, I majored in logic and got a PhD in mathematical linguistics. After a postdoc project at university, I left academia for private sector; I’ve worked for a large investment bank and a mid-sized business intelligence company, using Perl as the main tool.
Mohammad: How/When did you start using Perl5/Perl6?
Choroba: I started using Perl at university in the late 90’s. We used it for natural language processing, later I even taught it to graduates. I installed Rakudo when it was officially released for the first time, but haven’t used it beyond occasional experiments since.
Mohammad: How did you come to know about “Perl Weekly Challenge”?
Choroba: I don’t remember anymore. I read Twitter, Reddit, I’m on PerlMonks and several IRC channels, I subscribe to Perl Weekly.
Mohammad: What do you like the most about “Perl Weekly Challenge”?
Choroba: Unlike most of the programming competitions and learnings sites, the PWC doesn’t always come with a clean specification. There are many things left out, many questions left open. But in this case, it’s good, it gives us freedom to discuss possible solutions, to show the proverbial more than one way.
Mohammad: Is there any thing you would like to change?
Choroba: I’d love to have more time, but I fear the organisers can’t help me with that at all.
Mohammad: How much time you dedicate every week to “Perl Weekly Challenge”?
Choroba: Usually, it takes me about ten minutes to half and hour to find solutions. Writing a blog post takes an hour or two, as English isn’t my first language. But the first task in #018, the suffix trees, took several hours to implement, and several more to blog about, so winning exactly in this round was a great satisfaction!
Mohammad: Do you checkout others solutions and who is your favourite?
Choroba: I don’t check all of them, as there are too many lately! I read the recaps and reviews regularly (once I finish my own), and if something captures my attention, I usually follow the link and read more of the author. Naming one participant would be unfair to the others… probably with the exception of Damian Conway. I admire his presentation and writing style and I like both the depth and breadth of his solutions.
Mohammad: What do you suggest someone just started the weekly challenge?
Choroba: Have fun. Use CPAN, use Wikipedia. The goal isn’t to be perfect, but to learn and share the knowledge.
Mohammad: Do you find the website user friendly? What do you like most?
Choroba: Yes, I like sites with simple design. I especially love to play with the charts.
Mohammad: Anything else you would like share with us?
Choroba: I like the Perl community and I’m glad I can give something back to it. Thank you, Mohammad, for organising the challenge and giving us opportunity to share and learn.
That brings the end of the conversation with E. Choroba. Please do let us know your view. We will come back next week with another champion.