BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): This is a personal post how I become involved with programming and my continued interest in solving mathy programming problems.
I used to believe that programming was just beyond my abilities. I thought that only the hacker type that discovered programming books when they were 10 and had few other distractions could really do it, and that it was beyond the reach of most ordinary people, including me.
As a Plebe (freshman) at West Point, I had to take an introduction to information technology course based around Jython (Python on JVM). The course material was surprisingly confusing to me for a while (it didn’t help that we had a terrible REPL which didn’t color code language syntax versus permissible variable names and that we used a lot of obscure functions for picture editing).
I was over halfway through the course when I somehow discovered ProjectEuler.net and a better REPL. I ended up programming for nearly all of my free time for nearly 2 weeks straight and realized that I actually did have a knack for programming. I decided to transfer from being an operations research major to being a computer science major, which I was and still am excited about.
Anyways, I still spend some of my free time programming these Project Euler problems because they are so damn fun and a tractable way to improve my still basic programming skills. I lost all my computer files last semester, so below is the Project Euler problems that I have solved since then: