I guess I should followup to the ICFP programming competition which held the second and final phase a little over a week ago. The gist of the competition this year was that you implement a project in 3 days, then two weeks later the specs change and you are given a day to change it.
We implemented the problem in python and spent probably 16 hours for the first part and probably 10 for the second. I don't regret choosing python and it certainly wasn't a bottleneck for us.
We spent a good chunk of the final day trying to come up with some inkling of intelligence for a program (the project was to design cops and robbers to defend/rob banks).
To try and visualize some good algorithms we spend probably three hours messing with graphviz. I use graphviz at work a bit and it usually whips out a decent map. But the map we were sending it was a little too big, because instead of spitting out something, graphviz (or dot to be more correct) sat there for about 7 minutes before giving us a map that well to be nice, looked more like modern art. To that end we tried to print it on 20 pieces of paper and tape them together. We ended up with nice wallpaper...
We ended up with a cop that walks around (until he senses a robber nearby then he tries to follow him), and a robber who does a pretty good job of avoiding being sensed. Maybe next year I'll try and recruit an old co-worker (a machine learning guru).