Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming IT Technology

Geek Olympics Code for Gold 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the synchronized-clicking dept.
Haydn Fenton writes "Wired has a recent article on the16th annual IOI (that's International Olympiad in Informatics), taking place in Athens from Sept 11th to Sept 18th. The 304 programmers from 80 countries will be competing in 7 marathon programming sessions to determine the world's fastest coder. The computers are being supplied by Altec and contestants will have a choice of using either Windows XP or RedHat 9.0. More information can be found on the IOI Website."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Geek Olympics Code for Gold

Comments Filter:
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fortress (763470) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:02PM (#10262224) Homepage
    Just don't make them play beach volleyball..

    *shudder*

  • Yey Baby! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mbrewthx (693182) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:02PM (#10262227)
    Do the female Geeks get to wear those hot outfits like the Olympic Vollyball teams???
  • by DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:04PM (#10262239)
    How sweet would it be to have cheerleaders for this kind of thing?
  • No MacOS X? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laird (2705) <lairdp AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:04PM (#10262242) Journal
    A programming contest that doesn't include MacOS X? Crazy! All of the best engineers I know have been moving to MacOS X as their native platform ever since MacOS X 10.2. It lets you use all those wonderful open source tools, and still have a nice friendly GUI, and work on a beautiful laptop, all at once. It's a thing of beauty.

    And Apple's development tools rock!
    • Re:No MacOS X? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You must not know a lot of engineers. I know dozens and not one is moving anywhere near a mac. Of course, most of them are old hands who won't touch anything but a real Unix flavor.
      • Re:No MacOS X? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by green pizza (159161) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:30PM (#10262408) Homepage
        Of the professional Mac OS X converts I know, most are software engineers or computer science types. They like the fit and finish of PowerBooks and like the Unix/Unix-like/NeXT roots of Mac OS X.

        Most of the electrical and civil engineers I know are sticking to Win NT/2000/XP as their tools (Cadence, Xilinx Foundation, AutoCAD, etc) are not available for Mac OS X. Also most of these type of enigneers were actually happy to leave the Unix world several years ago when they traded in their Sun SPARCstations for WinNT boxes. To them the Windows world is easier and cheaper to deal with.
        • Re:No MacOS X? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AuMatar (183847)
          And all the engineers I know absolutely despise macs, and are happily using linux.

          Moral: testimonials mean jack shit.
        • by Snoochie Bootchie (58319) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:19AM (#10263373) Journal
          As one of those types of engineers, specifically an electrical engineer, I was not happy to see *nix go. At that time, the programmable logic device and tool vendors saw the migration away from $20,000 Sun boxes. As a result, they moved to Windows. Now, however, many of the EDA tools are available for Linux (generally, supported only for RedHat) since engineers, like myself, have been constantly requesting Linux versions. Windows is still the primary platform, but Linux is now viable platform for programmable logic development.
    • by green pizza (159161) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:12PM (#10262300) Homepage
      My guess is they're not supporting it because the default install of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther doesn't yet include all of the goodies that developers want.

      Here's what my buddies and coworkers complain about:
      • X11 is still not installed by default.
      • 10.3 comes with an older version of Xcode (1.0 I think). The newest version (1.5 I think) has to be downloaded from Apple's website, requring a free-but-time-consuming Developer Online Membership.
      • Version number questions. Many OS X users are still hanging on to 10.2.x because it's almost as fast and almost as good looking as 10.3.x. Many are waiting for 10.4 Tiger, and some developers are already using developer seeds of 10.4.

      • Maybe XCode 1.5 wasn't included with Panther because Panther was released almost a year prior? XCode 1.5 was just released like last month with Panther October of 2003. X11 is on the 3rd cd and is aboue 4 -5 clicks to install.
      • 10.3 comes with an older version of Xcode (1.0 I think). The newest version (1.5 I think) has to be downloaded from Apple's website, requring a free-but-time-consuming Developer Online Membership.

        Version number questions. Many OS X users are still hanging on to 10.2.x because it's almost as fast and almost as good looking as 10.3.x. Many are waiting for 10.4 Tiger, and some developers are already using developer seeds of 10.4.

        How are these issues different than coding with any flavor of Linux? I know my

      • by edalytical (671270) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:04PM (#10262557)
        And the default install for XP does include all the goodies that a developer wants. Last time I checked XP didn't come with development tools.

        My guess is they have to use the same hardware so no one has unfair speed advantage during a development compile. i.e. for debugging or a test run. And no I didn't read the article.

      • by ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:11PM (#10262588) Journal
        Nope it's simpler than that- OS X [apple.com] was not allowed because of easy access to Objective C [apple.com] libraries. Cocoa is frowned on as a "Performance Enhancing Language"

        Keep it fair folks.
      • My guess is they're not supporting it because the default install of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther doesn't yet include all of the goodies that developers want.

        Anyone who has the skills to program also has the skills to select a few checkboxes in an installer.

      • "My guess is they're not supporting it because the default install of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther doesn't yet include all of the goodies that developers want."

        Sounds like a non-issue to me. Anyone who can participate in a geek coding challenge can download and run a Mac installer.

        I guess that your claim is technically correct in that the developer tools are a separate install from the base OS, so you have to put in another CD (included with the OS) and run the installer. And if you have the latest developer CD
      • Why do they complain at all? Many development tools can be downloaded from apple here [apple.com] I have downloaded mysql, apache and openoffice. And as far as X11 downloads are concerned, typing in three text fields (two if you have an apple id) on the X11 Download Page [apple.com] doesnt look that hard to me. Do they complain everytime they login to their isp or check their email, or are they just talking out of their collective (dumb) asses complaining about a problem that doesnt exist? Why would apple even install X11 for most
    • I'm just surprised they're supplying the environment.

      It usually takes me a week to get a dev box up to "where I like it". Without an easy way to install my favourite software (*cough*apt-get*cough*Debian*cough*) it'd take longer!

      The environment doesn't make the coder, but it helps.

      Of course, they don't really let you change the environment in the Real Olympics either, so I guess that's just bad luck!
  • Why RH9 ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quixote (154172) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:05PM (#10262244) Homepage Journal
    Why did they choose RH9, instead of FC1 or FC2 (or the myriad other _stable_ distributions that are floating around)?

    With a newer distro, the contestants would get newer versions of the tools (like Eclipse, Emacs, etc.).

    I'm not criticizing; I'm just wondering.

    -- I like my women like I like my beer: smooth, and not too gassy.

    • Re:Why RH9 ? (Score:2, Informative)

      by mbrewthx (693182)
      I think It would give an even footing when you take into consideration that if you have to install the system as part of the competition it would take the same amount of time to get RH9 and XP up to date..
  • by rexguo (555504) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:05PM (#10262246) Homepage
    Personally, I think fast code is more important than coding fast. But that's because I work in the real-time media industry..
    • by BizidyDizidy (689383) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:22PM (#10262357)
      Personally, I think embarassing posts are more pathetic than posting emabarassingly. But that's because I don't write posts that convey no meaningful information in a transparent attempt at gaining karma.
    • From the article...

      Competitors submit their solutions to the competition server and are scored on the elegance of their solution and the quality of their source code.

      It would appear that quality of code and solution are critical factors in determining the winner. I actually didn't see any reference to the time taken in the article, though I would assume there is some kind of upper limit. The actual performance characteristics of the code would probably fall under the "elegence of their solution".

    • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:39PM (#10262460) Journal
      real-time media industry

      Just say 'webcam porn' industry and get it over with

    • Competitions don't usually have a 12-18 month window for delivery, it sort of has to be done now to get judged.
    • I looked around their website and also did not see any mention of grading based on whether or not the code produced was secure/exploitable and such.

      I believe that to be a valid measure of code worthy of a gold medal in any coding competition. Then again, it may be on the website and I just missed it.

      p.s. I did read that the produced code was not allowed to access the network - so I guess that nulls out remote exploitability.
    • by doeth (640661) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:55PM (#10262896)
      As a former competitor in the IOI, I wanted to correct some misconceptions regarding the competition format and scoring presented thus far. The competition consists of two rounds with fixed 5 hour time limits. In each round, a contestant is asked to solve three algorithmic programming tasks.

      For grading solutions, the only criteria are program correctness and efficiency. To do this, a judge presents the contestant's solutions for each problem with a set of test input cases. For every test case in which the contestant's solution gives the correct output under the allowed program running time, the contestant receives a fixed number of points.

      As the test cases vary in their size/difficulty, they allow the judge to evaluate both program correctness and efficiency (only the most efficient programs will be able to solve all the test input cases given by the judge for a particular problem). In some recent IOIs, contestants are given an optimization problem to solve, and a contestant's program is graded based on the optimality of their generated solutions as compared to those solutions generated by programs of other contestants.

      In none of these cases is grading ever based on the length of the code or coding speed (unlike the ACM or more recent TopCoder contests). Thus, the IOI is primarily an algorithm design contest rather than a coding competition.
  • and in other news.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:05PM (#10262250) Homepage Journal
    the paraolympics are opening on 17th.

    in athens.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:06PM (#10262251)
    What could be better than winning a gold in the Geek Olympics?

    A> Not being a fucking geek I'd warrant.
  • by smartsaga (804661)
    Can you do my homework in c++ data structures????
  • Automated Scoring (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluelip (123578) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:09PM (#10262280) Homepage Journal
    TFA states the programs will be automatically scored on characteristics including 'elegance'. How can one program judge the elegance of another?
    • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:39PM (#10262462) Homepage
      It might be related to how programs determine the complexity of code, elegance may be strongly correlated with simplicity. One definition of complexity is to count the number of operands and operators used to perform some task.
    • Simple... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Draconix (653959)
      ...have all the judges be programmers from AOL and Microsoft. The less it looks like their own code, the higher the score.
    • It's not at all true. (I should know, since I was a competitor at IOI 2001, when the automated grading system was first introduced.) The only measure of "elegance" that can be used is runtime, since submitted programs generally get no more than a second to produce output, and chances are that if you don't design an efficient enough algorithm to solve a task you'll almost certainly time out on a whole bunch of data sets.
    • TFA states the programs will be automatically scored on characteristics including 'elegance'. How can one program judge the elegance of another?

      Usually, a complicated, non-elegant solution won't be fast enough to solve all the test cases within the time limit. Of course, beyond this it's pretty much impossible to determine "elegance" without having a human judge look at the actual code. Most likely whoever wrote this up thought "elegance" was a nice-sounding word and so decided to throw it in there.

      On a
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:10PM (#10262281)
    Urine checks after every line of code.

  • Hold up... (Score:5, Funny)

    by blueforce (192332) <clannagael.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:10PM (#10262285) Homepage Journal
    This sounds too much like something contrived by corporate America.

    No, thanks. I'll take the quality olympics.

    It's like... "Who can build the next skyscraper the fastest? Now, who wants to occupy it?"
    • Re:Hold up... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Paladin144 (676391)
      No, thanks. I'll take the quality olympics.

      And which one would that be? The one with all the doping scandals and judging fiascos? The one that gave the corporations huge concessions such as making blogging illegal [cnn.com] for athletes?

      The Olympics are full of crap.

      ...except for beach volleyball - that was cool.

    • From the article...

      The IOI is one of five brains-over-brawn Olympiads; other games test kids' skills in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.

      This new breed of olympic games are not just about computers, but they cover many different intellectual fields. While there may be some corporate sponsorship, the goal here seems to be rather benign. It is simply an attempt to create an international competition that tests the intellect rather than the physical shape of the body. Does this make it any less

    • Oops... I see now that I missed your point entirely. However, once again, I have to disagree. See my other post [slashdot.org] regarding the quality vs speed. I don't believe that speed is the central issue here.

    • Re:Hold up... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Muttley (53789)
      The Olympiads in general, IOI included, are not about speed. They are about finding the most talented young minds in the world, and giving them a chance to earn prestige and acclaim amongst their peers. The other olympiads, Maths in particular, have been around for years. RSA Encryption was invented by 3 attendees at the (I believe) 1967 International Maths Olympiad, Rivest, Shamir, and Adlemann, who were the US team at the time. Would anyone think that the maths olympiad was merely a matter of speed?

      Likew
  • Scandal (Score:4, Funny)

    by MikeMacK (788889) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:10PM (#10262288)
    Let's just hope we can keep the doping scandals to a minimum.
  • by Hypharse (633766) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:12PM (#10262299)
    I remember the last time....a brazilian was in the lead with only a couple functions left. Then out of nowhere a drunk irishman with the words

    "I use FreeBSD you insensitive clods!"

    written on his back ran onto the floor and shoved the leader's chair into the crowd. Scooting the chair back into place cost the leader precious seconds and momentum which dropped him eventually to third place.

  • well.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by toomin (793701) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:14PM (#10262310)
    My friend went to the International Biology Olympiad, which is basically the sister project of this one. She had loads of fun, so I wish all the best to the kids competing in this competition. One point to note, perhaps: The people who are in this coding competition are all kids in school. This is not determining the fastest coder in the world, it's determining the best young coders. Just thought I'd clear that up.. =)
  • Wait a sec (Score:5, Funny)

    by StevenHenderson (806391) <stevehendersonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:14PM (#10262312)
    The computers are being supplied by Altec and contestants will have a choice of using either Windows XP or RedHat 9.0

    I thought they only used Windows in the International Special Olympiad in Informatics. :)

  • Live Boardcasting? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 4cop2c (811629)
    What will it like if there is live boardcasting?
  • Condoms. (Score:5, Funny)

    by xotx69 (571221) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:17PM (#10262325)
    Somehow, unlike the "Athletic" Olympics, I don't think they're gonna need to hand out condoms.

    Just personal lubricants...
  • Network (Score:3, Funny)

    by mixtape5 (762922) <hckymanr@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:24PM (#10262367) Journal
    Which Lucky TV network gets to have continous coverage of these events?
  • Not Olympics (Score:3, Informative)

    by sometwo (53041) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:29PM (#10262401)
    Don't call it an Olympics or you'll get sued by the IOC faster than you can say it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:32PM (#10262425)
    Here's a few suggestions on what to code:

    1) Fastest "Hello World"
    2) 1337 0w|\|a63 Code (XP vs. RH9)
    3) First one to hack HURD out from Emacs
    4) First one to find (or paste) SCOde into Linux (anonymously sponsored but the prize check was stamped from Utah)
    5) First to hack AI for dancing Osimo-like Ballmer.
    6) First to uninstall their OS and install/compile Gentoo
    7) Program a game...'cause we could use another one of them fsckin' Space Invaders clones.
  • Why no G5s? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cow007 (735705)
    Any particular reason that Apple isn't represented? I think that the competition might be a bit more competitive if the G5 was available.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:37PM (#10262451)
    So we can know who NOT to hire. A good, employable coder is someone who works well in a team, writes code that can be easily taken up by another coder if necessary, and does not show up the rest of the team in an effort to be "#1". The people going for these olympics have pretty much the exact opposite of every employable skill I look for.
    • by MadHobbit (68381) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:50PM (#10262863)
      The people who win these competitions are the people who have the best knowledge of algorithms and data structures, and who know their programming language fluently.

      The competition itself feels very non-competitive. Most participants are trying to win by performing their best, not by beating everyone else (if you catch my meaning). Outside of the actual coding sessions, everyone socializes (really!), swaps ideas and knowledge, and discusses the solutions that were used in the previous sessions. I saw people get together the next day, pool their knowledge, and come up with a better solution -- this is outside the competition, for the sheer joy of solving the problem.

      The IOI does not test teamwork and communication, either positively or negatively. Anyone who has attended an IOI (regardless of whether they won a medal) deserves your attention as an employer, because it's a safe bet that they are a -very- good programmer. You still have to apply all your normal filters (is this guy a jackass, is he a slacker, or is he good for the company), but from my experience at the competition I'd say there's more contestants that would be an asset than a liability.
    • Feeding a troll, but since it got modded up...

      I guess you don't hire people who compete at sports either? Because athletes are also trying to be nr. 1 all the time, thus making them unsuited for working in a team.

      Here's a hint: could it be that those people are competing in a tournament for fun, while having different priorities at work? I guess the people you are looking for are really inflexible, incapable of changing the pace of their work based on the demands of the situation (do you work for the go

  • by Anonymous Coward
    the16th annual IOI (that's International Olympiad in Informatics)

    Actually, that's 5.
  • fastest coder??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:43PM (#10262475)
    More like fast thinking, puzzle solving skills, knowledge of algorightms, data structures and math (especially combinatorics), concentration under stress, debugging, and even some luck.

    I suck at coding fast, type with few fingers, and pause all the time to mentally execute the code. Got gold in 1991 :) From what I've seen, format of the competition and problem scope hasn't changed that much since then.
  • Computer languages can be made to resemble human language (English) as much as possible. They can be made to reflect the machine as much as possible (assembler) and they can be made to resemble a drunken sailor with Tourette's syndrome (Pearl).

    However, I wonder how functional languages will do. They try to approximate math as much as possible. OCaml [ocaml.org] Won top 3 spots from '98 till '02 in a contest called ICFP. Although OCaml is both functional and has object-oriented features.

    Are functional languages the wa
  • by greenreaper (205818) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:51PM (#10262505) Homepage Journal
    Back in the day (2000), I actually got into the final of the British Informatics Olympiad [cam.ac.uk]. I'm not sure what the format is elsewhere, but basically they sent out a self-administering test to schools (all the schools in the UK, I think) and had them run it locally, seeing how much of a few interesting puzzles you could write in three hours or so - you can find out more on the site. All programming, no justification, you were scored on results (in that round), which I thought was the way it should be - after all, results are what matters in real life!

    All the cool people were using C or Pascal. I used QuickBASIC! And yet I got the right results for enough of the questions (the C guy got his output board the wrong way up), and so I was invited to Cambridge. The best part about the first round was that I hadn't even done the last round right - I just said "yes, that's right" to the sample case and "No, impossible" to everything else. ;-)

    Anyhoo, I got to Cambridge (for you USAians, one of our old "Ivy League" colleges) where I learnt to my relief that they had installed QuickBASIC especially for the two of us who had actually got in with it (15 finalists total) - they were shocked at having to, I can tell you! Of course, I was pretty sure at that stage that I wasn't actually going to win, and so I had a great time and zero stress. The tests itself were a) more of the same, but b) there was also an easay paper. Having not read much about the subject formally, I imagine I did dismally on the latter - I think I got about one and a half on the programming at best. Didn't know how to do efficient sorting! Still, it was great fun, and really set my mind on becoming a programmer.

    The best part was, we got room, board and tours around Cambridge absolutely free (I guess they were looking to recruit a few of us to Cambridge). I even saw Stephen Hawking whizzing around on his motorised wheelchair! We got given two books at the end of it - Programming Pearls [amazon.com] and Introduction to Computer Algorithms [amazon.com]. Both darn good books, although I admit to reading the first more closely than the second. ;-)
    • Hah, I used QB in the IOI the two years I was in it. Got Bronze both times. A lot of the other people raised eyebrows - some were using Pascal, but all the "real" coders were doing C. At the end of the day, I don't think it mattered much which you used. (The second year, I was using C at home, but didn't feel comfortable enough with e.g. file I/O to use it in the competition).

      There was -one- problem that I recall QB being a liability in. If you solved it the "wrong" way, processing speed and memory managem
    • "Of course, I was pretty sure at that stage that I wasn't actually going to win, and so I had a great time and zero stress."

      That's cool. It would have been seriously funny if you'd been all laid back and then won the damn thing.

      Programming Pearls is a nice little book. It's very useful to a beginner but is probably a waste of money if you're already an established programmer. A lot of the tricks that are demonstrated in the book are common sense (for an experienced programmer).

  • Don't forget ICFP (Score:3, Informative)

    by Captain Tripps (13561) * on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @09:53PM (#10262517)
    Those too old for this competition or the ACM version [baylor.edu] should check out the ICFP programming contest [slashdot.org]. You can work from home, using any language you want, and you have three days to complete the task the give you (24 hours for the lightning division). Typically people work in small teams and use exotic stuff like Dylan [gwydiondylan.org], although last year's winning entry was in C++. If you win, you get a cash prize and the judges pronounce your implementation language "the programming tool of choice for discriminating hackers."
  • LOL (Score:2, Funny)

    by d2_m_viant (811261)
    And in related news, 304 programmers will be going to bed without a woman tonight...
  • Speed does not necessarily indicate quality. I'll take a slow, but steady programmer any day over someone who outputs crud at great speed. Then again, I'd take someone who can generate good code quickly above those two - but when speed is your primary objective, like it is here, you're not likely to get particularly good quality code.
    • Point well taken. As a former competitor in the IOI, however, I can vouch that the contest is NOT a speed programming contest. In fact, contestant scores are based solely on the performance of compiled code in terms of correctness and efficiency. While it is true that the contest is given with a fixed time limit for program development, a significant portion of that time is spent on algorithm design rather than coding. For most competitors, the differentiating factor is not the ability to finish writing
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @10:42PM (#10262797)
    I actually participated in the IOI for two years and won two silver medals. Anyway, I can attest that the contest is neither about speed nor coding. It's about coming up with algorithms to solve hard problems. Similar to the International Mathematics Olympiad, if anyone's heard of that. If you can come up with a brillant algorithm and prove to yourself that it works on all possible test data in time, then you'll have plenty of spare time to code it in. If you can't do that, then you might get at most a bronze medal (half the people get *some* type of medal). Of course you do need to know your way around whatever language you use to program your solutions, but none of the programs will be more than a couple pages of code (we're not writing a Linux kernel here), and you have 5 hours to solve 3 problems. At the point where you can get most of the algorithms, it's much more important to have good debugging and testing skills than to be able to code quickly.

    In fact I've found that the best strategy is to just turn off the monitor altogether and think about the problems for a while. Your most useful tools in the IOI are the pencil and pad of paper they give you.

    The ACM programming contest is sort of similar to the IOI in that you have similar time limits and similar amounts of problems per person (8-10 problems for a 3-person team, with 5 hours). However, it's a lot more frantic since you're fighting for terminal time, whereas in the IOI you can take things slowly or run detailed tests. TopCoder (the other big programming contest) is also more speed- and debugging-intensive, although problem solving skills can help a lot if you're able to start with the Hard problem every time for instance.
  • prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adamruck (638131) on Wednesday September 15, 2004 @11:20PM (#10263072)
    Any bets on whether the winner will be using Linux or XP? I am cheering for the linux people myself.
  • ACM ICPC? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU (810740)
    How does this compare to the ACM ICPC? For those who don't know ACM also has a college level, and has regional/and world finals each year. As a former participant I'm curious what the diff is, and how you enter this one.
    • The IOI is for secondary school students rather than college students. But that's really only a minor difference.

      Also, IOI is an individual event (although each country sends a "team" of up to 4 students, they do not work together).

      As far as I know, the problem types are pretty similar. The big difference, however, is that ACM ICPC rewards fast coding (score is kept based on problems solved as well as time taken), whereas IOI is scored solely on correctness. The scoring is typically done based on the numb
  • by T.Hobbes (101603) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @12:00AM (#10263285)
    For the rest of us, there will be an on-line public competition hosted through the Valladolid site [acm.uva.es] and run by the University of Waterloo [uwaterloo.ca]. The next one is on the 19th (3 days away!), free, and everyone can register [uwaterloo.ca]. Stock up on doritos and join in the fun!
  • USACO (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aerion (705544) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @01:04AM (#10263532)
    If you're an American high school or middle school student and are interested in participating in IOI in the future, you should refer to the USACO [usaco.org] website. The American IOI team is picked from among the best performers on USACO.

    If you're not an American student, USACO is probably still worth checking out, as it permits all pre-university students to compete (although only Americans can be considered for the team), and anybody in the world can enter as an observer. In fact, the vast majority of USACO participants are not American.

    USACO is also working on making contest divisions that are more friendly to beginners, if you're worried about difficulty.
  • The programs are marked for completeness, I think the fastest algorithm is important in there (all this N(o)PPN erm, numbers, I wish I remember my degree)

    But they do not support Java, I asked them why and the answer was :

    Although the use of Java was discussed during the GA and the ISC
    meetings of the IOI-2003 contest, the suggestions to use it for this
    year's contest were turned down. Java is thus not included in the
    permitted languages for the IOI-2004 contest, which are limited to
    Pascal, C and C++. A Jav
  • by osvejda (799137) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @02:07AM (#10263728)
    The slowest coder will get The 3D Realms [3drealms.com] Award.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

Working...