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ACM Programming Contest

The basic information

This page is for people who visit these pages and do not know anything about the Contest.

About the Contest

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is an activity of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) - the oldest computer organization all over the world (it was founded in 1947!). It is a two-tiered competition among teams of students representing institutions of higher education. Teams first compete in regional contests held around the world from September to November each year. The best teams then advance to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, typically held the following March to mid-April.

If you want to get some more information about the Contest, you can visit the official ACM Programming Contest Web Pages, or the web pages of the Central European Region (CERC). CERC draws students from colleges and universities throughout Austria, Croatia,Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

Why should you participate?

It is my own experience that the participation in the Contest is very interesting and usually also funny. Contestants usually like the competition very much. Most universities participate periodically in the Contest each year. The Contest is also a very good opportunity for you to demonstrate and sharpen your problem-solving and computing skills. Moreover, the food and drinks are provided during the Contest for free. Isn't it great? ;-)

For the best students, there is also an opportunity to start their career. For example IBM (the main sponsor of the Contest) often invites the contestants to the interview. Participation in the World Finals would be a very interesting information for any software company.

The basic rules

  • food and drinks during the actual competition are provided!!! ;)
  • the teams of three members are competing in the Contest; a team may have less than 3 members but this means no preferential treatment
  • from 5 to 10 problems are posed to the teams; the problems focuse on the ability to find an efficient algorithm, no special knowledge should be needed - neither the compiler implementation details nor any particular computer science area
  • the actual competition lasts for 5 hours
  • each team has only one computer at its disposition
  • solutions are judged automatically; the program is tested with a concrete data set and if it gives the right output, it is considered right; that means the judging is absolutelly objective; the programming style does not matter, the correctness and efficience is considered only
  • if the solution does not meat the requirements, the team is informed about it and another attempt may be made later
  • the scoring is simple: the more problems a team solves, the better is its position; the time is the second criterion
  • contestants may use any non-electronic books
  • contestants must not bring the calculators, cellular phones, pagers, computer hardware
  • the programming language is either C, C++, Java or Python, depending on the will of contestants
  • the Contest lasts for two days; on Friday there are some conferrals and Practical Session that provides teams with an opportunity to test the environment; the actual competition and Award Ceremony is held on Saturday
  • only the university students may participate in the Contest
  • the organizers may ensure only the food and drinks during the contest activities, and help the contestants to reserve accomodation; the accomodaion itself, breakfasts, health insurance and all the other costs are the responsibility of each team