The International Obfuscated C Code Contest (IOCCC) is held every year to produce the shortest, funniest, or most unreadable C programs. In the eighties, I won the contest twice. In December 2000, we were back in the game with my friend Jyrki Holopainen and won. Our program is a fairly complete spreadsheet software that runs under the X-Windows system and consists of 1,536 bytes of source code.
Our winning entries:
I view the contest as an interesting exercise in optimization. There are many optimization goals: speed, maintainability, object code size, or source code size as in the contest. Regardless of the goal, it is necessary to have full control of the problem at hand as well as the tools, such as the C language in this case. The contest is an excellent place to practise how to gain such control for an application of a limited scale. Such practise also makes one intimately familiar with the problem domain and what is truly relevant within it.
Stay tuned for further IOCCC participation, as our work on security features has already produced interesting results. These include an IPsec ESP implementation at 1,400 bytes. Hey, I know it doesn't have all the features. But when I tested it against KAME in an IPsec bakeoff, guess who had a correct Blowfish implementation and who did not?
Also, please see this entry, which Jyrki did on his own. It is currently the shortest known program that can print "Hello world". (Damn, I had the previous record.) It is actually shorter than the strings "Hello world" and "main()" put together. So how an earth did he do it? Check it out...
Slashdot articles: 15th IOCCC results posted, Mind twisting winners and tiny entrants.