ACM-ICPC Asia-Amritapuri Site

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

 

 

 


 

Contents

Overview.. 3

1.     What is ACM ICPC?. 3

2.     How many colleges take part?  From which countries?. 3

3.     What is the purpose of this contest?. 3

4.     What is the role of Amrita University?. 4

5.     What is the role of ACM?. 4

6.     What is IBM’s role?. 4

7.     What is the role of Infosys and Directi?. 4

8.     How often is the contest run?. 4

9.     What is the multi-tier nature of the contest?  How is that organized?. 4

10.        What is a contest site?. 5

Participation. 5

11.        What are the online round and onsite round?. 5

12.        How can I participate in the ACM ICPC?. 5

13.        Do I have to pay to participate?. 5

14.        Are there scholarships for travel to ICPC or for paying registration fees?. 5

15.        How many regionals can I participate in?. 6

16.        How many World Finals can I participate in?. 6

17.        Can high school students who are good at programming compete?  How about faculty, or former students?  6

18.        Can Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students participate?. 6

20.        Where may I participate?. 6

21.        What is the composition of a competing team?. 6

22.        Can I have a mixed team, where students are from one university (say Bombay University), but from different colleges?. 7

23.        Can an individual or a team of two participate?. 7

24.        Why is my team registration not showing as Accepted?. 7

25.        Is the contest run over the internet alone?. 7

26.        How many teams participate at Amritapuri?. 7

Technical details of the contest 7

27.        Please describe the online contest. 7

28.        Can I participate in the online contest from anywhere in the world?. 8

29.        What computer hardware and software do I require for the online contest?. 8

30.        How do you prevent cheating during the online contest?. 8

31.        What programming languages are allowed?. 8

32.        Please tell me a typical problem. 8

33.        Do you have automatic judging or human?. 8

34.        Who sets the problems?. 8

35.        Can I change the team’s composition between the online round and the onsite round, and between the onsite round and the World Finals?. 9

36.        How are teams selected for the onsite round?. 9

37.        How is it fair that a team that has solved only one problem sometimes gets selected from the online round, but a team that has solved three gets rejected because his university has sent many good teams who happen to do better?  9

38.        How can I practice for the contest?. 9

39.        Can I solve different problems in different programming languages?. 9

40.        Can I get partial marks for a partially correct solution, that is correct for some of the testcases, but perhaps not all?  10

41.        Is there a penalty for wrong submissions?. 10

42.        How is the winner decided?. 10

43.        What OS do you use on your server, and what versions of compilers?. 10

44.        If I cannot duplicate your exact configuration on my university/home computer, will your judge give different results from mine?. 10

45.        If we think our submission is correct, but your server says there is, say, a compile error, what can we do to convince you of the correctness of our solution?. 10

46.        Can we get extra time in case we have a power outage/computer crash etc.?. 10

47.        I have slow internet only.  Is that a problem for the online contest?. 10

Onsite Contest 11

48.        Please describe the onsite contest. 11

49.        Please explain the two sites – Amritapuri and Coimbatore. 11

50.        Can I bring guests to your site?. 11

51.        What does the registration fee of Rs. 3000/US$100 include?. 11

52.        What are the prizes?. 11

Contacting us. 11

53.        Can I get my questions answered through email/phone/chat?. 11

54.        My college wants to run the ACM-ICPC / another programming contest. 11

55.        How can I help?. 12

 

 

Overview

1.   What is ACM ICPC?

 

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is a multitier, team-based, programming competition operating under the auspices of ACM and headquartered at Baylor University, Texas, USA. The contest involves a global network of universities hosting regional competitions that advance teams to the ACM-ICPC World Finals.

 

2.   How many colleges take part?  From which countries?

 

Participation has grown to several tens of thousands of the finest students and faculty in computing disciplines at almost 2,000 universities from over 80 countries on six continents.

 

3.   What is the purpose of this contest?

 

The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. Quite simply, it is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious collegiate programming contest in the world.  It brings together academia, industry, and students from all over the world.

 

4.   What is the role of Amrita University?

 

 

Amrita University organizes the Asia-Amritapuri Regionals, and has been doing so for the past five years.

 

5.   What is the role of ACM?

 

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and supports the contest.  Participants and coaches also receive ACM free membership for a year.

 

6.   What is IBM’s role?

 

IBM is the primary sponsor for all Regional Contests Worldwide, and is the exclusive corporate sponsor for the world finals.

 

7.   What is the role of Infosys and Directi?

 

Infosys and Directi contribute financially to the contest, help us connect to colleges, provide prizes and giveaways etc.

 

8.   How often is the contest run?

 

The contest runs once every year.

 

9.   What is the multi-tier nature of the contest?  How is that organized?

 

At the highest level is the World Finals, held in a different city each year.  About 100 teams from all over the world go to that city to compete in the spring of every year.

 

At the next lower level are the Regional Contests, held in countries all over the world.  Winners from Regional Contests go to the World Finals.  Regionals are like semi-finals, and are held in different places between September and December of the year prior to the spring World Finals.  They are similar all over the world.

 

At the lowest level are other contests designed to select teams to appear at the Regionals.  These contests may be conducted over the internet, or perhaps confined to individual colleges or to specific geographic zones, and generally are not very uniform in their style.

 

10.               What is a contest site?

 

A contest site is a physical place where Regionals are conducted.  There are 15-18 such sites in Asia, for example, including two in India.  Tokyo, Kanpur etc. are other sites in Asia.

Participation

 

11.               What are the online round and onsite round?

 

Since we cannot handle the large number of teams that would like to participate at the Asia-Amritapuri regionals, we have split up the Regional contest into two tiers.  The first online or internet round is conducted over the internet, in October, and lasts 5 hours on a Sunday morning.  Selected teams from this round are invited to come to the onsite round in December.

 

12.               How can I participate in the ACM ICPC?

 

The first step is to form a team consisting of a faculty or coach and 3-4 student competitors, all from the same college/university.  The second step is to decide where to compete – at which Regional or Regionals.  The coach then registers his team at the Baylor university website, and follows all instructions for registration at the individual Regional contest’s website.

 

13.               Do I have to pay to participate?

 

The rules vary by Regionals.  At the Asia-Amritapuri site, the preliminary online round is free.  Rs. 3000 per team (US$100 per foreign team) is charged for participation in the onsite round.

 

14.               Are there scholarships for travel to ICPC or for paying registration fees?

 

In the past we have awarded travel scholarships to come to Amritapuri.  The coach has to apply, and forms will be made available at the Asia-Amritapuri website in November. Registration fees and travel are sometimes paid by universities, so you should present your invitation to your university (through your coach) to see if you can get reimbursement.  There are also special scholarships for all-women’s teams who do very well (come in the top 15 or so) at the Regionals.  Travel to the World Finals is generally sponsored by universities and by corporations such as IBM  India, Google, and Directi.  Amrita University does not handle that.

 

 

15.               How many regionals can I participate in?

 

A student enrolled in an Asian college can participate in at most 2 regionals in a year, or five total, counting all years.

 

16.               How many World Finals can I participate in?

 

At most two.

 

17.               Can high school students who are good at programming compete?  How about faculty, or former students?

 

No, only college students may participate.  Faculty can act as coaches, not competitors.

 

18.               Can Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students participate?

 

Generally, yes.  But there are restrictions on eligibility.  Please see our registration page for details.

 

19.               Can students from any department participate?  How about a coach?

 

Students and coaches can be from any department.

 

20.               Where may I participate?

 

Many Regionals are held all over Asia, and an Asian student may participate anywhere in Asia.  However, generally speaking, for an Asian team to advance to the World Finals, they should win from their own sub-region in Asia.  See http://icpcasia.blogspot.com, under Three Sub-Regions for the details.  But as far as Asia-Amritapuri is concerned, if you win at our site, and if your own sub-region will not give you a WF slot, you will (barring unusual circumstances) advance to the World Finals by using up one of our slots.  Asia-Amritapuri is in the West Asia sub-region.

 

 

21.               What is the composition of a competing team?

 

A team consists of 3 competitors, one reserve competitor (optional) and one faculty/staff coach, all from the same university campus.

 

22.               Can I have a mixed team, where students are from one university (say Bombay University), but from different colleges?

 

No, all team members and coach have to be from the same college or university campus.

 

23.               Can an individual or a team of two participate?

 

Although we allow such teams to compete at the Asia-Amritapuri site, such teams cannot advance to the World Finals.  Please get special permission from us if your team has less than three competitors.

 

24.               Why is my team registration not showing as Accepted?

 

(a)    Do you have fewer than 3 contestants?

(b)   Have the coach and all contestants completed their registration?

(c)    Has the coach used their university email ID, or obtained permission from us to use another email ID? 

(d)   Have more than 2 working days passed since all registration was completed?

(e)    For the onsite contest, have you paid your registration fee, selected a site, etc.?

The above are some of the reasons your registration may not be Accepted.

 

25.               Is the contest run over the internet alone?

 

No.  Some stages may be over the internet, but the semi-final stage requires your presence at Amritapuri.

 

26.               How many teams participate at Amritapuri?

 

Last year, 300 teams took part in the preliminary online round.  This year, we will have a total of 180 teams between Amritapuri and Coimbatore for the onsite round, up from 60 last year.

Technical details of the contest

27.               Please describe the online contest.

 

Registered teams will get login credentials to our contest server two days before the online contest.   At the time of the contest (typically 9 AM, IST) teams log in using a browser (Firefox, IE, etc.) to our contest server.  There they see the web-based GUI to our contest server, and the 5 or so problem descriptions.  A typical problem will have a description of the problem to be solved, the input format to expect, the output format to use, sample input, and sample output.

 

A team writes code that solves a described problem and uploads their solution (a text file) to our server, based in Amritapuri, Kerala.  We run the code against our own secret input to see whether the competitor’s solution’s output exactly matches our golden solution’s output for all inputs.  The result is immediately communicated to the competitor.

 

28.               Can I participate in the online contest from anywhere in the world?

 

Yes, as long as you have internet connection.

 

29.               What computer hardware and software do I require for the online contest?

 

In theory you only need a computer with a text editor, browser and internet.  However, since you will want to try out your solutions on your own computer to verify correctness before uploading, you will need compilers also.  For details, see our website.  Ask your college to provide these facilities for you to compete.

 

30.               How do you prevent cheating during the online contest?

 

The online contests are not supervised, and in theory, cheating may happen.  The onsite contests are supervised.  We reserve the right to publish all source code that is submitted to our server.  Teams caught cheating will be disbarred from competition for this and future years.

 

31.               What programming languages are allowed?

 

C, C++, Java, as in the World Finals.

 

32.               Please tell me a typical problem.

 

A relatively easy problem: Given the co-ordinates of two triangles in 2-D space, determine whether they intersect anywhere.

 

 

33.               Do you have automatic judging or human?

 

Both.  The result from the automatic judge (Mooshak) is examined by a human judge.

 

34.               Who sets the problems?

 

Previous finalists at the global level from ICPC, Google Code Jam, etc.

 

35.               Can I change the team’s composition between the online round and the onsite round, and between the onsite round and the World Finals?

 

You may change your coach with our written permission.  And a reserve may replace a regular contestant.  But otherwise, no. Nor may you add a reserve after the registration deadline has passed.  Illness, travel problems etc. are not sufficient reasons for change of team composition.

 

36.               How are teams selected for the onsite round?

 

The selection generally happens thus: All teams that have not even solved one problem are eliminated. From the remaining teams, the top team from each university campus is selected for the onsite contest. If there are still open seats, a second or even a third team is selected from universities who have (i) sent a large number of teams to the online contest and (ii) performed well overall in the online contest.  Up to three teams from a single university campus may thus be selected.

 

37.               How is it fair that a team that has solved only one problem sometimes gets selected from the online round, but a team that has solved three gets rejected because his university has sent many good teams who happen to do better?

 

ICPC’s goals including bringing many universities together.  The contest is not just for the top teams. Besides, only one team from any university may qualify for the World Finals, so we give the best teams from any university that chance to try.

 

38.               How can I practice for the contest?

 

Go to the practice sites listed in our website and practice hard.

 

Go to the Mooshak website to try out the contest server.

 

Take part in our warmup contests, practice contests etc.

 

Read books on programming.

 

Keep an ear open for programming contest camps, like the Amrita-Infosys camp held in August 2010 at Infosys Bangalore.

 

39.               Can I solve different problems in different programming languages?

 

Yes.  You can even submit different solutions to the same problem in different languages, until you get an ‘Accepted’ judgement.

 

40.               Can I get partial marks for a partially correct solution, that is correct for some of the testcases, but perhaps not all?

 

No.

 

41.               Is there a penalty for wrong submissions?

 

Yes, 20 minutes.  This is also for Presentation Error, such as extra white space in your answer.

 

42.               How is the winner decided?

 

The winner has the maximum number of correct solutions. If there is a tie, the time taken (including penalties for wrong submissions) are considered.

 

 

43.               What OS do you use on your server, and what versions of compilers?

 

Please see our website for these details. Typically we use Linux (Ubuntu).

 

44.               If I cannot duplicate your exact configuration on my university/home computer, will your judge give different results from mine?

 

It may happen, yes.  We therefore recommend that you duplicate our recommended configuration as much as possible. 

 

45.               If we think our submission is correct, but your server says there is, say, a compile error, what can we do to convince you of the correctness of our solution?

 

Nothing much, we are afraid.  For the practice contest we may have time to run your submission on our machine manually and tell you what is going on.

 

46.               Can we get extra time in case we have a power outage/computer crash etc.?

 

Sorry, no.  Unless the problem is at our end.

 

47.               I have slow internet only.  Is that a problem for the online contest?

 

Generally no, since only small text files and run results are sent over the internet. 

Onsite Contest

48.               Please describe the onsite contest.

 

The onsite contest is much like the online contest, except that all teams have to be present at one of our sites.  No remote log in is allowed.  There are also other activities scheduled, such as practice contests, cultural programs, and trips.

 

49.               Please explain the two sites – Amritapuri and Coimbatore

 

This year, we are physically splitting the Asia-Amritapuri site (one site administratively) to two sites at two of Amrita University’s campuses – Amritapuri and Coimbatore.  Invitees to the onsite contest may register their preference for one of these sites when they register for the onsite contest.  If you have no preference, you can state that, too, to help us assign slots.

 

50.               Can I bring guests to your site?

 

Yes, subject to availability of accommodation. We may also charge your guest a guest fee (to be decided later) for his/her food, accommodation, and event participation.

 

 

51.               What does the registration fee of Rs. 3000/US$100 include?

 

Accommodation for 4 nights, food, excursions, contest kits, transport to and from the nearest bus or railway station, all for the onsite contest.

 

52.               What are the prizes?

 

See our website for details.  For the online contest we only give out certificates in soft copy form.

Contacting us

 

53.               Can I get my questions answered through email/phone/chat?

 

Yes, emails are listed at our website.  Phone numbers will be listed later, as we approach the contest dates.  Chat – we will see.

 

54.               My college wants to run the ACM-ICPC / another programming contest.

 

Please have a faculty member contact us.  For ACM-ICPC, you may also contact the director of Asia contests (http://icpcasia.blogspot.com).

 

55.               How can I help?

 

You can help by spreading the word and encouraging participation.  If you are willing to talk to large numbers of students at your college semi-formally we will send you publicity materials.  You can also encourage your university to financially and otherwise support this and other programming contests. If you are an accomplished contestant, you can help us with problem-setting, or with instruction at one of our upcoming camps.