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Fun with Vertica UDX

During a week in July, Vertica held a competition for all of us, the 2012 summer interns. We had a week to write a user defined function for Vertica. We could work individually or in teams of two, and the function could do whatever we wanted it to do. We were, however, told that we would be judged by a range of people from across the company on criteria that was never quite explained to us.

Like most people, and probably many Vertica customers, I had never written a UDX for Vertica before. I was already in the middle of my normal summer work, and did not necessarily relish the idea of putting off my other tasks, which I was enjoying, to learn a new skill that seemed very specific. I was still not sure what exactly a UDX was, but writing one sounded difficult and unpleasant.

So, being the natural procrastinator that I am, I put the competition off. Unfortunately for me, this summer Vertica has an odd number of engineering interns and my fellow interns did not seem as daunted as I was. In the time that I spent pretending that the competition was not actually occurring, they had already divided into teams and started working on their ideas. The final presentation was a mere couple days away, and I needed an idea quickly. Because I also was now apparently working alone, I needed that idea to be easy to implement.

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