As a self-taught programmer, I’ve happened upon less formal education in the art of data structures and algorithms than those who attended university. Most of what I’ve learned came through long nights spent on Wikipedia, all of it directed towards solving problems I was experiencing in a company or project I was working on. But sometimes this just-in-time learning approach doesn’t work so well. Outside of reading a large textbook, or taking a course on Coursera, it can be hard to discover new knowledge if you aren’t in an academic environment. So that’s why I started the London Big-O Meetup.
The aim is simple: to provide a forum where working and studying programmers in the city can share their favorite data structures and algorithms in a language-agnostic setting, and thus raise the knowledge level of the entire group in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. We want to hear real stories of how people apply ‘academic’ DS&A theory in their daily professional lives, or cutting-edge research that could provide faster or more accurate ways of doing difficult things with computers. Anything that can be run on a computer is up for discussion. The only requirement is that it be accessible to an audience of people who code on a daily basis.
The first meetup ran in December 2012, and went pretty well. I gave an intro to the goals of the group, and a run-through of Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange. Tiberiu spoke about discrete event simulation for deterministic hardware verification (including how to simulate parallelism), and we also had a spur-of-the-moment speaker jump in to add some thoughts on the frame problem.
I’m organizing the second meetup for Thursday the 7th of March, so we can get it done before I fly off to PyCon on the 11th. I’ve already reached out to speakers and an event space, and I’m waiting on confirmation, but if you’re in London and want to broaden the horizons of your mind, you should come along.