Special announcement: Invite your friends and co-workers to the spring conference on May 21 and register them as your guests. If your guests attend the conference, you and your guests will each receive a complimentary copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People, the timeless book by Dale Carnegie which has sold more than 15 million copies.
The Fourth International NoCOUG SQL Challenge has been published in the May issue of the NoCOUG Journal available at http://www.nocoug.org/Journal/NoCOUG_Journal_201505.pdf. Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet plays out in an American setting. In the NoCOUG version, Romeo sings American songs to Juliet and gives her gourmet dipped swizzled strawberries for her birthday. The bard of Avon must be rolling in his grave laughing.
Entries should be attached as a comment to this announcement. Please use the code tag to delimit SQL code. Judging criteria will include correctness, originality, efficiency, portability, readability, and order of receipt. The winner will receive an Apple Watch Sport or gift card of equal value. The August Order of the Wooden Pretzel will also be conferred on the winner, in keeping with the celebrated comment by Steven Feuerstein in the August 2006 issue of the NoCOUG Journal: “Some people can perform seeming miracles with straight SQL, but the statements can end up looking like pretzels created by someone who is experimenting with hallucinogens.” The current knights of the August Order of the Wooden Pretzel—Alberto Dell’Era (Italy), Andre Araujo (Australia), Rob van Wijk (Netherlands), Ilya Chuhnakov (Russia), and Lukasz Pluta (Poland)—are not eligible to participate. Additional prizes may be awarded at the discretion of NoCOUG. The contest will close at a time of NoCOUG’s choosing. NoCOUG and the judges reserve the right to publish and comment on any of the submissions with due credit to the originators. NoCOUG reserves the complete right to clarify, interpret, or modify the contest rules at any time. NoCOUG’s decisions are final.
About the NoCOUG SQL challenges
In an interview for the NoCOUG Journal, Steven Feuerstein was asked: “SQL is a set-oriented non-procedural language; i.e., it works on sets and does not specify access paths. PL/SQL on the other hand is a record-oriented procedural language, as is very clear from the name. What is the place of a record-oriented procedural language in the relational world?”
Steven replied: “Its place is proven: SQL is not a complete language. Some people can perform seeming miracles with straight SQL, but the statements can end up looking like pretzels created by someone who is experimenting with hallucinogens. We need more than SQL to build our applications, whether it is the implementation of business rules or application logic. PL/SQL remains the fastest and easiest way to access and manipulate data in an Oracle RDBMS, and I am certain it is going to stay that way for decades.”
To prove Steven correct, NoCOUG held three international SQL challenges. The winning entries were mind-boggling indeed.
First International NoCOUG SQL Challenge
An ancient 20-sided die was discovered in the secret chamber of mystery at Hogwash School of Es-Cue-El. A mysterious symbol was inscribed on each face of the die. The great Wizard of Odds discovered that each symbol represents a number. The great wizard discovered that the die was biased and invited all practitioners of the ancient arts of Es-Cue-El to create an Es-Cue-El spell to display the probabilities of obtaining various sums when the die was thrown “N” times in succession in a game of chance. Nine solutions were found by participants in seven countries and three continents but the winner, Alberto Dell’Era from Italy, rose above the competition by implementing Discrete Fourier Transforms and becoming the first knight of the August Order of the Wooden Pretzel. You can read an explanation of his wonderful solution here. Alberto also implemented Fast Fourier Transforms but we won’t even go there.
Second International NoCOUG SQL Challenge
An ancient manuscript titled “Love Your Data” was discovered in the secret chamber of mystery at Hogwash School of Es-Cue-El. The manuscript was covered with mysterious words and the great Wizard of Odds implored contestants to create an Es-Cue-El spell that revealed the secret message. Andre Araujo (Australia), Rob van Wijk (Netherlands), and Ilya Chuhnakov (Russia) submitted solutions and became the second, third, and fourth knights of the August Order of the Wooden Pretzel. Ilya submitted two solutions: one using the MODEL clause and one using recursive common table expressions. You can read their wonderful solutions in the 100th issue of the NoCOUG Journal.
Third International NoCOUG SQL Challenge
The Wicked Witch of the West had invited six friends to the Third Annual Witching & Wizarding Ball at Pythian Academy of Es-Cue-El & No-Es-Cue-El. Here friends made their attendance contingent upon the attendance ofothers. For examle, Burdock Muldoon, Elfrida Clagg, and Falco Aesalon all said they would come if Carlotta Pinkstone and Daisy Dodderidge both came. The Wicked Witch of the West needed an Es-Cue-El or No-Es-Cue-El spell to determine whom she needed to persuade to attend the wizarding ball in order to ensure that all her invitees attend. Master sorcerer Lukasz Plata of Poland not only solved the problem with a single SQL statement but provided a proof that his solution was correct. He became the fifth knight of the August Order of the Wooden Pretzel. You can read his wonderful solution here.