Actually it is not hard at all. In fact doing that is a small part of my day job and I’m only 1 guy. I routinely architect and design systems that go from ZERO to sustained millions of transactions lasting over a 4 hour window. It’s a piece of cake if it’s well thought out, well planned out, and well architect-ed and you know what to expect more or less.
I can’t mention by name for professional/confidentiality reasons, but many years ago I was one of the lead architects for one of those sites you listed.
Now, I’m not about to give FIRST or AndyMark any grief over this. I have no facts, no details, no specifications what so ever of their design and architecture.
They have all done the best they were able within the time and resources that they had to work with.
It’s certainly disappointing that it didn’t fly on day one, but that happens to even the best planned, best designed sites.
As an additional economic refinement, maybe we could offer teams (but not mandate) the option to designate substitute goods for each preference. If you just want any solenoid valve from FIRST Choice, allocate your preference to your favourite one, and then choose decimal fractions between 0 and 1, inclusive, indicating how much you’d like each other solenoid valve (or each other available item, if you’d like) as a substitute for the favourite one. If you don’t get your preferred item, you get the initial preference allocation times this substitute factor, and are re-ranked within the same round.1
In other words, the preference matrix is an n × n matrix with the i = j cells being the preference for the items themselves, and the rest of the cells being the substitutability of item j for item i.
The UI for this should be considered in some detail, to make it easy for teams to choose to designate no substitutes, and to understand the form in a clear way.
Also, this is just brainstorming at this point; I haven’t analyzed this to see if it works.
1 This substitution would seem to put some ugly upper bounds on the computation time of the algorithm…but despite that, I think it could still work for our small set of teams and items.
At the end of all this fun, it would be nice to have AndyMark publish a summary of the problems they encountered and the solutions they took to correct them. Since we have so many talented software engineers and web designers I think it would be a good “teachable moment” for the students.
These are the problems professional engineers solve.
Well, yeah Mr. Andy Baker deserves the GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM AWARD! I think its time this and sister threads on this topic are closed once for all! Got tired of hearing the complaints, almost everyone went through the same waiting, refreshing browser, checking CD etc. All mentors should set a good example to their as well as other teams. CD is visited by students too, you don’t want to be role model for nasty post, do you?
as a mechanical mind, I don’t understand how people complain, computers aren’t even real! They are magic that runs on household dust and soymilk!!
If folks want to complain about this magical system having problems, maybe there should be an option to submit by a postcard!! Just write on the back what parts you desire and then AM will send them to you via Turkey vulture.
tracking is a breeze as well!!:
paw-ca paw-ca(your package is in Pennsylvania)
I know this is a old thread, but I wanted to send out a big THANK YOU to AndyMark and FIRST for the work they put in to make FIRST Choice work so much better this year. I can only speak for my team, but our experience was SO much smoother and easier than in previous years. The priority list system was fair and transparent. Thanks everyone!