What I'm wondering is what people generally do to create these entries to the competition. Here is a piece about the SHA3 competition outlining the formal process, but doesn't really say anything about the people competing, what they did to create their functions. I get that they make the algorithm, but what goes into making it is what I'm wondering.
I would like to know how they work roughly, how long it takes them roughly, that kind of stuff. Nothing too involved if it's not possible, I would just like to get a sense of "it takes 2 people 3 years of 8-hour days doing pure math to submit something worthwhile", or "they can do this in a weekend". Or stuff about how they work, if they are just doing trial and error to get all the random magic values or if they have some methodology to the madness.
The coolest would be if one of the finalists or competitors could describe their experience developing the thing, but I don't suspect that will happen :)