Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

2006 ACM Programming Contest Complete 180

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the all-wrappered-up dept.
prostoalex writes "World finals for 2006 ACM programming contest took place in San Antonio, TX this year, and the results are in. Russia's Saratov State University solved 5 contest problems in record time, followed closely by Altai State Technical University (Russia) with 5 problems solved as well. University of Twente (Netherlands), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), Warsaw University (Poland), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), Moscow State University (Russia), University of Waterloo (Canada) and Jagiellonian University - Krakow (Poland) all completed 4 problems."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2006 ACM Programming Contest Complete

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:04PM (#15117420)
    Woohoooooooo! Wait a minute...
    • How exactly is that off-topic? Has the moderator even read the article?
    • Re:GO USA!!!!!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, wow, you found one thing that the US doesn't completely dominate in. Meanwhile we have the largest and richest economy, the mightiest military force in the history of the world, and the cultural and social influence of everybody around the world.

      I wonder if these kids who won will now be looking to attend the best higher educational system in the world, or looking for a well-paying job in the best job market in the world. Wait a minute, that's the good old U S of A.
      • Wasn't this a competition of higher education? We didn't do all too hot.
        • This is in no way a judge of the merit for the higher education system... It is a good judge of the kids themselves, because they went through a lot of preparation and such to make it this far. But this definitely does not really change the fact that American universities tend to produce higher-quality students and better research in most areas.
      • Re:GO USA!!!!!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tekzel (593039)
        Whoa, I can't believe you had the nerve to say that stuff. Didn't you know its currently the height of fashion to hate the USA? Guaranteed to get you modded down.
    • I got mod points for my birthday :) thanks slashdot.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I work for the contest.

      The reason American teams will probably never win is because American universities give their teams little to no support. The coach for Georgia Tech was an alumn that works in Atlanta, because no profs will do it. Any tenure track proffesor at a major CS school in America that takes time to coach a contest will not get tenure.

      Contrast this to the Chinese team that won last year. The Chinese government bought the coach an SUV, in a country where most people don't have cars. Ameri

  • I already said why the ACM programming contest is crap [slashdot.org], I won't say it again.
    • And yet, you just did...
    • Re:Ugh not again... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ageforce_ (719072)
      You should have a look at the ICFP contest then: http://icfpcontest.org/ [icfpcontest.org].
      No prefabricated problems.
      More time to do the job.
      Any programming language.
      ...
    • by Tammuz (320333) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:48PM (#15117624)
      It's generally unfair to judge ACM teams by the polish of their answers, since the only criteria is to solve the problem in minimum time. Similarly, problems are chosen with the time-constraint in mind, not out of any attempt to further science. If you want that, try the MCM [comap.com].

      What's impressive about the winning solutions is that they went from having nothing to implementing a working program from scratch, under stress in only a few minutes. While that is arguably not applicable to being a programmer in real-life, just as being an Olympic sprinter doesn't prepare you for any particular job, it is certainly a commendable intellectual achievement.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        What you're missing is how hard the problems are, hard as in "math" not as in "complicated, annoying specs". Time is only used as a tiebreaker, how many problems you solve is what matters most. In fact most teams spend much longer wasting terminal time on flawed algorithms than they do typing up problems they have solved - in other words, if you know how to do a problem, there is plenty of time to implement it. (Teams that know how to solve lots of problems might run into time issues, but this rarely affect
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Some may be interested in the IEEE design competition: http://www.computer.org/csidc [computer.org], which typically involves designing a hardware/software system constrained within a pre-determined theme. Judging entries includes considering the creativity in addressing the theme, how well the design/development process was planned and executed, does the system work correctly, etc. Submissions are initially judged as paper designs. Those submissions that make the cut have working models judged.

        I believe both contests
    • by Expert Determination (950523) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:51PM (#15117645)
      It's no *programming* contest at all. It's much more like an algorithm-solving+text formatting race. They don't test your REAL programming skills - your ability to create your own programming libraries, the organization of your source code, the maintainability, etc.
      Oh please! That's like saying the Olympics aren't a real contest because they only test the prowess of athletes, not their ability to tidy up the locker room after use, their politeness towards other clients at the gym or how nice their outfits look on TV.
      • That was a funny one. Anyway, I can say this: Most of the people in here who are programmers have stumbled upon spaghetti code. Well, I have. The guy who wrote that was seen as a genius because he managed to build a full database catalog (where you edit all the records in a DB table) in only 15 minutes.

        Wow, that's cool, isn't it?

        Well, those 15 minutes turned into several hours of maintenance. (He used copy/paste a lot, now try to adjust 20 similar spaghetti php+html+sql pages - no, no templates - when you
        • And conversely... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Expert Determination (950523) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:26PM (#15117839)
          ...I've spent too much time in companies where people write nice, neat, tidy, well documented and easy to maintain code, but nobody actually knows how to do anything other than plumb one API into another. Every so often I'd come across a tool that someone had written that actually did something and I'd be bemused. How the hell did this lot write that? And I'd dig down through the source code and eventually find that under the mountain of wrappers and delegators and empty architecture there was actually a nugget, like V'ger [wikipedia.org], that did real work. And someone would explain to me "that's the code that Joe wrote years ago, he left and now we daren't touch that stuff, we just maintain the wrappers".

          The truth is that you need both kind of people in software companies. And the other truth is that the people who write the nuggets do interesting work that is worthy of displaying publicly in a contest. And the rest do work that isn't.

          Having said that, plumbing competitions [pmmag.com] aren't completely unheard of.

          • It's not entirely impossible that the person who writes the nuggets also writes 'nice, neat, tidy, well documented and easy to maintain code', you know. Some programmers with a little more talent don't think they have to, because they think they're gods gift to the company, but I'd rather have a person writes maintainable code than a cowboy coder, because a cowboy coder needs to do even his own work all over every few years, because he can't remember WTF this algorithm does, and he hasn't the documentation
        • Re:Ugh not again... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wcbarksdale (621327)
          Speed is probably the most visible aspect of ACM programming contests, but really correctness is the most important criterion. The scoring system gives you 0 points for something that passes 95% of the tests, and the feedback is not much more informative than yes/no.

          My own experience is three years of regional contests and two at Worlds. The usual allowed languages are C++ and Java.

          In the first year I wrote essentially in the C subset, although I did sometimes make declarations in the middle of a bloc

          • The time efficiency of an ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException compared to what C++ would usually give you was worth it.
            What's wrong with std::vector::at() and std::out_of_range?
          • I competed this year -- it is my second time at regionals and first time at worlds. I have also followed basically the same progression as you (C subset first year, C++ w/ STL second year), and having done that, I have also decided that next year I will use Java exclusively. The virtual machine with automatic stack trace every time there's an uncaught exception and no segfault/heap corruption/stack corruption EASILY pays back for the slight increase in verbosity and slight speed hit.
      • by GlassHeart (579618) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:24PM (#15117825) Journal
        That's like saying the Olympics aren't a real contest because they only test the prowess of athletes, not their ability to tidy up the locker room after use, their politeness towards other clients at the gym or how nice their outfits look on TV.

        No, that's like saying the Olympics isn't a real contest of athletics because you're only testing how fast they can run 100 meters. The results don't show who was fastest at 10 meters, 50 meters, or who would be fastest at 150 or 1,000 meters. Recognizing this shortcoming, the Decathlon adds up the scores from multiple events to find the best all-around track and field athlete.

        A programming contest is the equivalent of a single track and field event. There's nothing wrong with that, but we have to be careful what conclusions we draw from its results.

      • by dubbreak (623656)
        Not sure that is the right analogy.. it'd be more like if the olympics had one event: the 100 meter dash. That is exactly what this competition is, a single event race, it's only measure is speed of completion. Of course it is hard to evaluate less tangibles like maintainabilty and ease of reuse.

        My proposal: make programming competitions more like figure skating, where you get points on different aspects from a variety of judges. Might make a interesting tv show even (probably not in all honesty).
    • No way, they just a preset input and output. They don't just use a compare, they judge the output after using a preset input.
    • It's no *programming* contest at all. It's much more like an algorithm-solving+text formatting race. They don't test your REAL programming skills - your ability to create your own programming libraries, the organization of your source code, the maintainability, etc.

      You're right. Real programmers rarely bother with formatting...

      (No, I'm not kidding...I make my money testing their stuff -- don't knock test programming, it's some of the purest computer hacking there is -- and I make about half of it because t
    • by schnitzi (243781) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:23PM (#15117822) Homepage
      Your rant sounds like an angry ex post facto rationalization for losing.

      I've spent many years involved in ACM programming contests, as a competitor, coach, and judge. And let me tell you, every team that considers it a hacking contest, and treats it like a hacking contest, LOSES. The teams that write well organized code, with simple straightforward solutions, win the day every time.

      I'm not surprised you did poorly.

      BTW, of course they compare output files. Would you really expect the judges to give an aesthetic judgment of each program in a five hour contest? "9.8 from the Russian judge..."
      • It is a hacking contest to quite some extent. Unlike most programming contests I've taken part in, coding skills have far more importance than the ability to come with the best algorithm in O(n) sense.

        An example: in my time (1998), we didn't whack our teammate upside the head for doing one of the tasks the real way instead of just going for the naive algorithm. The naive one was O(n^3), the optimal one -- O(n), but max n was... 100. In our national competitions and on most exams done by folks from our fa
        • Not all problems can be generalised to providing a reasonable solution without regards for the time constraints.

          The last ACM competition I went to (2004), there was a question where you had to implement a solution while keeping in mind the time requirements. Nobody in the country successfully implemented it; in the end, a naive implementation would have taken centuries to run, and a good implementation (after a lot of thought) would have come very close to the time limit imposed on the result submissions.
      • I guess that depends on what you mean by hacking. In my experience, often it's raw coding speed that carries the day, and having lots of tricks at your disposal helps enormously. But that will only get you so far without an ability to suss out the clever, concise solutions quickly. In any case, I agree with your "sour grapes" assessment of the parent.

        - Bob Hearn, member, Rice 1986 (3rd place) & 1987 ACM programming teams
        • Two condemnations of the the GP by a couple of ACM poster boys. I'm sure those school trophies have a place of honor in your home, but do you have to get personal with someone who found to contest to be too mechanical and arbitrary with too much insider information? Can you recognize a valid argument as well as you recognize correct coding solutions? Is it the contest that inspired you to have an I'm-a-winner/You're-a-loser mentality?

          • Well, a fair enough criticism, but it's going to be hard to find someone with an informed opinion who hasn't participated and had either a good or a bad experience. In my case, although my team did take 3rd one year, I had my share of issues with judging. The second year at nationals we bombed, and before the first year we bombed at regionals. In each case it was easy to find many causes to blame on the judges. In fact the first year I sent a nasty (and pretty stupid) letter to the contest organizer. But wh
    • I've participatedin the ACM local competitions for two years in a row now. If studying computer science has taught me anything, it's that understanding algorithms and design patterns is paramount. We should, in fact, have them memorized, and the competition reflects that.

      We all write programs, so we're all programmers, but I definitely think there is a difference between a "computer scientist" and, say, a computer engineer, a code monkey, a web programmer, etc.

      The ACM competition is computer science--no

    • Umm. the contest is about computer science so algorithm solving ability is exactly what needs to be tested, not how pretty your commenting is.

  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:09PM (#15117450) Homepage
    ...MIT stole Saratov State University's cannon.
    • > ...MIT stole Saratov State University's cannon.

      In California, CalTech had to go to Soviet Russia, only to be stolen by what was once their own cannon?

      "...what a canonical meme!"
      - Slashdov Smirnov

    • Just had to add to try.

      In Capatlist west old cannon moves between university.
      In Soviet Russia KGB intercepts hi tech US artillery during transport.

      Reminds me of the old joke.

      "The USSR and the GDR want to raise the Titanic together,
      The US is interested in the gold treasure and the safe full of diamonds,
      The USSR is interested in the technology,
      And the GDR (East Germany) is interested in the band that played on as everything collapsed around it..."

    • MIT stole Saratov State University's cannon.

      .. more likely S-300 [tribulation.com] or something
  • Not final scores... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qbproger (467459) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:15PM (#15117476) Homepage
    As someone who has their school at the competition, and I'm on the programming team (though my team didn't make it this year). Those are the scores as of one hour left in the competition.

    They don't update the scores during the last hour to keep suspence for the awards ceremony. So this isn't really news at all, and the post is going to be meaningless as soon as they update the standings. I'm expecting them to be posted soon though as I think the awards ceremony ended recently.
  • by hyfe (641811) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:24PM (#15117522)
    1. Anybody managed to find the actual test questions?
    It's always interesting to see how advanced these are. Most of the time, I'm really not impressed by the complexity of the assignments, although the optimalization work done by the teams can be pretty 'way-better-than-anything-I-could-ever-do".

    2. If you ever see Russian State Universities at the top of anything, be very, very cautious. I studied at MGU (Moscow State University) for a little while, and it was frankly appaling. They were taught extremely specific skillsets, they knew exactly what they would be tested in in advance of tests and didn't study *anything* else. It was like a game of 'getting through Uni without learning *anything*' which outranked anything I've ever seen back home (or heard of in the US). The methology probably lends itself well to predefined, known tests, but it produces practically useless students.

    (To be fair, here back home, the ones who really learn something are the ones with a real interest in the subject, and they learn most of it outside class. There were really bright people at MGU too. It was the mindnumbingly staggering uselessness of the average student there which amazed me. It was supposed to be a "Top University".. oh, and you had to bring your own toiletpaper if you wanted to take a dump :)

    • 1. Anybody managed to find the actual test questions?

      Among the puzzlers, greatly simplified here: Write a program that computes how the gears of a clock can be connected with an hour and a minute hand, based on a provided input shaft speed with a maximum of three gears per shaft. Create a program that can find the maximum numbers of degrees of separation for a network of people. Develop a system to interconnect different nodes of a corporate network in the cheapest possible way.

    • 1. Anybody managed to find the actual test questions?

      It looks like you will be able to get them in pdf from from the contest website [baylor.edu]. (As of the time of this posting, the link hasn't gone live.)

    • I studied in Saint Petersburg State University and it was tough. Maybe because of our rivalry with MGU we never thought high about it. You just proved us right.
    • by arrrrg (902404) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:13PM (#15117767)
      It's always interesting to see how advanced these are. Most of the time, I'm really not impressed by the complexity of the assignments, although the optimalization work done by the teams can be pretty 'way-better-than-anything-I-could-ever-do".

      You must be talking about another contest, on crack, or a super-genius (I won't hazard a guess as to which). I was on the Berkeley ACM team this year, and the International-level problems are HARD ... unless by "complexity" you mean the difficulty of writing a guess-and-check "solution" (which will be exponentially too slow). Usually, coming up with an algorithm with good asymptotic time complexity is the focus, and is very difficult. Almost all of them are not ones you can look at and just say "oh, that's max flow", etc, unlike some of the regional contest problems. And, from my experience at least, optimization is not that important at all. If you get the right algorithm, the problems can typically be solved in well under the time limit without doing anything fancy. If you do the naive thing, no amount of constant-factor optimization will allow the thing to finish before the universe ends. Just my $.02 ... don't take my word for it though, look at last year's problems and see what you think: http://cii-judge.baylor.edu/ [baylor.edu]
      • by jbf (30261) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:33PM (#15117889)
        As a member of the second place team in world finals many moons ago, I have to disagree. I think the problems are actually quite simple algorithmically, and that the hard part is quickly writing working code for semicomplicated problems (including input parsing) with only one computer shared three ways.
        • As a two-time contestant at finals myself, I'll split the difference between the two of you. Both times I went the problem set contained a fairly even mix:

          1. Problems with obvious good solution algorithms that were easy to code (and everyone got these)

          2. Problems that took careful inspect to find a non-exponential brute-force algorithm that were easy to code once you figured this out. (Most teams got these towards the end of the contest)

          3. Problems with fairly obvious solutions that were challenging t

        • Do you mean these won't be the guys who come up with a cure for cancer and AIDS, as the IBM guy suggests in the article? Darn, I was sure that team speed coding was going to do it.

      • If you get the right algorithm, the problems can typically be solved in well under the time limit without doing anything fancy. If you do the naive thing, no amount of constant-factor optimization will allow the thing to finish before the universe ends.

        Well, to be frank; if you're reasonably not-stupid, finding an algorithm that scales well shouldn't be a problem (alot of people seem to be reasonably stupid though.. a lot of people who really ought to know better). Sure, it'll take time, and actually impl

      • Urg, first reply missed my closing statement to parent.

        In the end, I guess I, just like everybody else, am impressed by stuff I'm bad at, while the stuff I actually have talent won't seem as magical. Sure people are better than me, but they're not *that* better.

      • In all the contests I did, the most difficult thing wasn't actually solving the problems, it was solving the problems so they were right first time, in the fastest time possible, when you only had control of a single computer, keyboard and mouse between 6 of you trying the same thing. No matter how l33t you are, you probably have difficulty writing a reasonably complex program so it's right first time. I know lots of fantastic programmers who couldn't write code that compiles without their IDE, so paper a
    • They were taught extremely specific skillsets, they knew exactly what they would be tested in in advance of tests and didn't study *anything* else. It was like a game of 'getting through Uni without learning *anything*' which outranked anything I've ever seen back home

      That description sounds a lot like MIT. I felt bad for the Aero/Astro kids asking us for electrical help. Sure we all got B's on it, but...that was like a couple months ago.

    • Appaling (Score:4, Interesting)

      by melted (227442) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:19PM (#15118382) Homepage
      Yeah, dude, I know why it was "appaling". Because you couldn't handle studying there, that's why. Compared to education in the US, the situation in Russian higher education is completely the opposite of what you've described. Folks are being taught extremely broadly, perhaps with too little attention paid to practical applications of what is taught at times. And you can't narrow down the scope of your education because you _can't_ choose classes. You fucking WILL learn linear algebra, physics, differential calculus, discrete mathematics, etc., whether you like it or not.

      It is expected of students to be able to figure out practical applications on their own. MGU in particular is one of the most hardcore Russian schools that is easily on par with _any_ Western college or university for which here in the US you'd be paying _through the nose_. MGU seems to be specifically designed to produce scientists and researchers, not engineers, though. MIFI, MAI, MSTU and NGU on the other hand focus on generating engineers that get shit done. The reason being, they produce most of Russia's engineers who work on weapons and high tech.
      • Yeah, dude, I know why it was "appaling". Because you couldn't handle studying there, that's why.

        Moscow didn't impress me no.

        You fucking WILL learn linear algebra, physics, differential calculus, discrete mathematics, etc., whether you like it or not.

        I know Linear Algebra, Differential Calculus, Discrete mathematics.. Physics is a weak spot though (relativly, took the courses, got bad grades and deserved them).. I finished my Master Thesis in Computer Science. Seriously, I know my shit. I met some re

    • If you ever see Russian State Universities at the top of anything, be very, very cautious. I studied at MGU (Moscow State University) for a little while, and it was frankly appaling. They were taught extremely specific skillsets, they knew exactly what they would be tested in in advance of tests and didn't study *anything* else.

      This is a highly spot-on comment. The problem ACM is now discovering, I suspect, is that in certain countries students at certain universities will work all year to compete in th

    • by BMazurek (137285) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:55PM (#15118520)
      I studied at MGU (Moscow State University) for a little while\

      As a geek that moved to Moscow recently...were you ever able to find a bookstore that sold computer books in English?

      Please!?

      • The large Dom Knigi on Novy Arbat, (right next to the Norwegian Embassy if you have a tourist guide, I might be mistaking the streetname), had the largest selection of English book I could find. Never checked out computer books though.
      • "Dom tehnicheskoy knigi" ("Tech book house") on Leninskiy prospect, 40, should have a lot of CS books in English.
    • 2. If you ever see Russian State Universities at the top of anything, be very, very cautious. I studied at MGU (Moscow State University) for a little while, and it was frankly appaling.

      Hi, Hyfe, you might be very, very cautious about making overbroad comments.

      Now I could possibly believe that computer science of Moscow State was not that good (in 1993 they were doing assembler on Abat3 (Z80 clone) when 386 were widespread), but, at the very least, the Math and Physics departments are excellent in compari

      • Hi, Hyfe, you might be very, very cautious about making overbroad comments.

        Well, MGU is the most prestigous University in Russia. I can judge what I saw there. I'll give you that I might just have been unlucky with the students I met, but I seriously wasn't impressed. Obviously, I know nothing of the other universities, but based on my experiences with MGU, I can, and will, advice caution.

        To be more specific; What I can say is;
        The computer students I met there learnt *everything* volunteraly outside o

        • To be more specific; What I can say is;

          The computer students I met there learnt *everything* voluntarily outside of class. They generally seemed competent.

          The economics students were toss. Seriously. I cannot begin to describe it. I met several, and tried discussing with them. This is probably partly due to a much lower general awareness of politics and economics (not that I blame them, 70 years of disagreement being fatal *will* affect a society)

          I spoke better English than the Language students. I

    • First, MGU is not the best university for technical sciences (MPTU and IFMO are the best ones).

      Yes, you *can* get through a Russian university programm without learning anything. But still it will require a fair amount of work (or even bigger amount of money for bribes).

      As for a narrow skillset... As a CS-student I was taught: descriptive geometry and technical drawing, all sorts of math (algebra, calculus, differential equations, topology, analytical geometry, complex calculus, functional analysis, statist
  • by shadowen1977 (903138) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @07:29PM (#15117549)
    I like this quote from the story.... "When was the last time you heard someone say 'I need a piece of software in 10 minutes?" Ask my boss.... He needs it in 5.
  • Start queueing up the "In Soviet Russia" one liners...
  • Is that the winning Russian univeristies are in very provincial places. Saratov is in the middle of nowhere East of the Volga River and Altai is actually in Kazakhstan.
    • Well, most industries and research institutes in Russia are "in the middle of nowhere" by European/USA standards. That's because the european part of Russia alone is bigger than all countries of West Europe put together.

      During the WWII a lot of research universities were evacuated to Saratov from Ukraine, Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg). And some universities stayed there when the war was finished.

      BTW: Saratov is located in the European part of Russia and it's not "a middle o
    • That's an underinformed comment.
      Saratov [wikipedia.org] is a major Russian city on Volga (and that always meant something). Altai is a region in Russia, about the mountain range with the same name. Granted, the latter is relatively backwater. And I, too, feel sympathy for the winners who are far from the usual suspects (who scored well too).
      • Saratov is a major Russian city on Volga (and that always meant something).

        No joke. ~1 mil. pop. Not to mention Engles across the river, or all the undocumented Kazakstanis. You see, I'm currently attending SGU (Saratovskij Gosudarsvenij Universitet) in their langauge preparatory department. I hope to snag a couple of courses in Mathematics or Comp. Sci before I head back to the states.

        , ! , .

        The cyrilic above doesn't seem to be comming through, so let me try a transliteration (which, I don't

  • well, (Score:1, Funny)

    by santaliqueur (893476)
    on redundant slashdot, soviet russia jokes post YOU!
  • Online ACM problems (Score:5, Informative)

    by BinaryOpty (736955) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:05PM (#15117720)
    For those who want to know more about this contest in the form of actually attempting ACM questions, then I suggest heading over to their problemset archive [online-judge.uva.es] which not only has ACM stuff from the last 5 years but a large number of non-ACM programming problems in the same vein. You can sign up with them and have your solutions to their problems checked for correctness.

    Since the website's a design massacre, to get to the ACM problems you need to click on the link marked THE CII ICPC LIVE ARCHIVE !!! [acmicpc-li...ive.uva.es] in the news bar, or just click on that one right there.
    • Please note that most problems on the uva site are not actually world finals questions, but regional contest-ish questions. The finals questions are harder.
      • The world finals are there as well, listed under "World Finals" on the badly done Java app. You can also get to them by clicking on "problemset" on the left sidebar and then on "World Finals" in the list. An alternative way is to click on "downloads" and they will be listed across the top. They don't have this year's yet but they have the past 4 years from before that.
  • Waterloo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrtroy (640746) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:37PM (#15117901)
    Here is a picture of our library taken during this exam period

    Library [imageshack.us]
     
  • by crunchly (266150)
    I remember my only entrance into the ACM programming contest. It was the first round of competition. We felt pretty good going in (calling ourselves team "Kwik Fill" after the gas station we stopped at along the way). We were the cream of the crop of the state school we attended.

    The first bump in the road was the compiler on the VAX. "Couldn't it have been a Sparc, or at least a Mac?", I thought, as we spent the first hour of the competition trying to understand how to get the compiler to work. You might as
    • All in all, it was a good performance. IIRC, we tied for 4th, as one team scored 4 points, two scored 3 points, one scored 2 and we were tied with the other eight teams with 1/2 point.

      Wouldn't you have been tied for fifth?
  • This is how it's done.

    http://www.ludumdare.com/ [ludumdare.com]

    Creativity, cunning, coding and caffine.
     
  • It was a great time. The team I was on placed fourth at the competition (we would say "We're the fourth best team in the free world.") The Russians weren't participating then, though a team from Switzerland did. Along with a team from Israel if I remember right. When I was the alternate the team placed second - it's kinda depressing to know that the team did better without me :-(
  • Actual results (Score:5, Informative)

    by insaneparadox (600390) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:38PM (#15118193)
    As noted previously, the mentioned scores were from an hour before the contest's end. My sources give the actual, final medal results as the following:

    1. Saratov State University (Russia) - 6 problems
    2. Jagiellonian University - Krakow (Poland) - 6 problems
    3. Altai State Technical University (Russia) - 5 problems
    4. University of Twente (Netherlands) - 5 problems
    5. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) - 5 problems
    6. St. Petersburg State University (Russia) - 5 problems
    7. Warsaw University (Poland) - 5 problems
    8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) - 5 problems
    9. Moscow State University (Russia) - 5 problems
    10. Ufa State Technical University (Russia) - 5 problems
    11. University of Alberta (Canada) - 4 problems
    12. University of Waterloo (Canada) - 4 problems

    Four teams each received gold, silver, and bronze (in the above order). For the same number of problems, the order is based on penalty minutes.
    • As the newswires have it [google.com], Saratov got gold, Jagiellonian and Twente shared silver with Altai Tech.
      • Re:Actual results (Score:3, Informative)

        by gvc (167165)
        Newswires are wrong. I have the printed standings in front of me.

        The top 4 (Saratov, Jagiellonian, Altai, Twente) got gold, the
        next 4 silver, the next 4 bronze.

        Gordon Cormack
        Coach, Waterloo

        P.S. Please do lobby ICPC to be more spectator-friendly.
        Although they seem to care about the profile of the
        contest, they seem indifferent to advertising
        and reporting on-line results. They refused to disclose
        a scoreboard link in advance; the actual contest time
        was not well advertised; even after the start of the
        contest
  • I haven't found info on what they had to program - I'd like to suggest to the rwth-aachen to participate next time, but I'd like to see what kinds of problems are to be solved (at least to know to which faculty I should suggest that... besides I'd be interested in that myself...)
    • I've not seen the tasks for this years' contest yet, but the way this contest used to be run (10+ years ago), the tasks were something that looked fairly trivial in a lot of cases, but in the end the exception processing is what usually caused a problem for most teams.

      I competed in the Southeast Regional competition in the US back in about 1991 or 1992 - our team tied with a bunch of others for last place with no problems solved. At the time, it was 10 problems, 6 or 8 hours, choice of C or Pascal as a lan
  • by mattr (78516)
    When I was in high school I participated in the ACSL [acsl.org] (American Computer Science League) contest among high schools which still is running. It seems similar, they had a written test on computer science related things and a series of practical team programming problems. It was a blast when our team beat the champion (we were Montclair Kimberly, I think it was the 82-83 contest). Seems like the ACM contest has more interesting and difficult problems, looks like knowledge of genetic algorithms and simulated
  • by LoveMe2Times (416048) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:54PM (#15118512) Homepage Journal
    I am still angry to this day. The "judges" had the wrong answer to one of the problems. Of course, it was the problem that I took for my group. I had it right the first time, within a few minutes. Submit, wrong, time penalty. Hmmm... futz with it a little, submit, wrong, penalty, repeat. In the end, my team came in like third or fourth, due to these penalties. Turns out, the teams that came in ahead of us hadn't even submitted any answers for that problem. Of course, nobody in the competition got it right, and only one other team submitted an answer, I think. What *really* pissed me off, though, is that our fucking school administrators refused to take up the fight on our behalf to have the results changed. If we had hadn't had the penalties, I think we would have been 2nd, and if we'd been credited for the correct answer, we would have come in first. Either way, we would've gone to the next round or whatever. I don't know if this was standard everywhere or not, but they passed out the "official" answers when it was over, so we discovered how we'd been cheated on the way home, and it was trivial to verify that their answer was wrong.

    However, I must agree with some of the other posters: it's not so much a programming competition. It's more of an algorithms and standard library memorization competition. I seem to recall that knowing *all* the ins and outs of the printf family of functions was pretty important. Looking at the site now, it looks like they provide docs for the standard libraries, I don't think this was the case where I went. Anyway, it's important that you know that Java has a regular expression parser as part of the std lib (and therefore usable in the contest) while C++ doesn't. In real life, if you need a regular expression parser, you go get one. Additionally, looking at last years problems, for example, one of them is a straightforward application of a shortest-path algorithm. Do I remember the inner workings of the common graph algorithms? No, I don't use them very often. But I have my reference book handy if I need it. 99% of the time, I'll just use boost::graph. That problem could be solved quite trivially in 20 minutes with boost::graph. If you want to test my knowledge of graph algorithms, that's fine. My algorithms textbook has many exercises which do just that. Just don't call it a programming test. Everything in my algo class was pen and paper. In fact, if you're a real progammer, and you didn't use boost::graph (or something similar) to solve that problem, you deserve to be fired. Writing your own from scratch is a horrible waste of time and a maintenance nightmare. In fact, the boost libraries probably trivialize a number of ACM problems, what with graph libraries, matrix libraries, parsing frameworks, regular expressions, state machines, and so forth. A programming contest would force you to use these well, not re-write them.
  • I'm glad that Polish universities had a good showing. I grew up there and was educated there and always thought that CS education in Poland was top notch quality. Much better than in the UK for example, where I also studied for a while.
  • "When was the last time you heard someone say 'I need a piece of software in 10 minutes?" - never. It's always like this: I need that code 10 minutes ago!

    So 10 minutes after, we are already 20 minutes too late.
  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @06:58AM (#15119745) Journal
    I am not surprised but still kind of irritated that almost all of the comments here revolve around either rationalising away the fact that no american team was at the top or being directly insulting of foreign universities.

    You americans are a bunch of wet nappies. You take a fucking programming and problem solving contest personally even though none of you were actually there. Not only that but you take it personally on a national level, as if your patriotic pride were somehow damaged because of this.

    America is a country that has lots of strengths, such as competitiveness, but also lots of weaknesses. such as an almost total inability to lose with grace.

    Maybe it's a good thing that (you americans)(sic) lost this competition.
  • by alex789 (873201)
    "When was the last time you heard someone say 'I need a piece of software in 10 minutes?" said Bill Poucher...
    When was the last time you saw Chloe O'Brien on 24?

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

Working...